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Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp

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By: (1811-1896)

Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe tells the story of a group of enslaved people who escape to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and form their own community. The novel explores themes of race, religion, and freedom, presenting a powerful and moving portrait of the struggles endured by enslaved individuals in America.

Stowe's writing is gripping and emotive, drawing the reader into the lives of the characters and their courageous fight for liberation. The novel is filled with vivid descriptions of the swamp and its inhabitants, creating a sense of atmosphere and tension that keeps the reader engaged throughout.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is the way Stowe portrays the complexity of relationships between the characters, both enslaved and white. Through these relationships, she highlights the deep-rooted prejudices and conflicts that existed in American society during this time period.

Overall, Dred is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant novel that sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of American history. Stowe's powerful storytelling and vivid imagery make this a captivating and important read for anyone interested in the history of slavery in America.

Book Description:
This is Stowe's second book, another one depicting the horrors of southern slavery, published 4 years after Uncle Tom's Cabin and 5 years before the commencement of the Civil War, when new territories wanting admittance into the US , were vying to become slave states, threatening to spread the heinous system. While a work of fiction, the book successfully documents the horrors of the slave system, and depicts how some slaves escaped into the Dismal Swamp , where they often lived for years hiding from their pursuers, often in community. Dred, one of Stowe's most unusual heroic characters, proclaims his mission as follows: ". . .the burden of the Lord is upon me . . . to show unto this people their iniquity, and be a sign unto this evil nation!'" The book depicts that slaves were not all passive victims, as so often portrayed, and had many white sympathizers, but all were caught in the grips of a legal system so stacked against them that nobody could overturn it without threats to life and limb. The book was welcomed by the anti-slavery movement in Europe as well as in America, and helped move the needle of sympathy to finally overthrowing the system. - Summary by Michele Fry

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