Disclaimer: I am not endorsing RightWingWatch.org. I’m simply using their video because I didn’t find this clip anywhere else.
I’m also not making a final judgment on Mr. Dobson’s book, Fatherless, because I haven’t read it (yet). I am going to try my best to read it.
But, independent of the quality of the writing in Fatherless, let’s examine the claim that Fatherless might be the modern-day Uncle Tom’s Cabin (“This is this,” Beck says and Dobson seems to completely agree with the assessment).
I recently read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, so I can speak to the standard set by it.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a complex novel that, while it does not leave its message to interpretation, is complex in its methods. Stowe uses themes like humility, Christian faith and redemption, and racial and gender roles to tell a complex story. It’s not just about the cruelest brands of slavery. It demonstrates how even the slaves’ best conditions were unjust and degrading to everyone involved.
It displayed the everyday life of everyone involved in the slave system. It had flawed characters, like St. Clare who ultimately achieved salvation through faith in Christ, and it had characters like Senator Bird who believes in the legality of slavery (specifically fugitive slave laws) but takes the opportunity to help a slave escape.
In short, Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows the slave system as it was…right then. It didn’t speculate. It didn’t predict. It was a story of now…in 1851.
Also, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this complex novel so that she could change prejudiced minds. It was published first in a major magazine read by people who needed convincing. Fatherless would have to reach beyond a very conservative, predominately Christian audience (and change minds) to have the same impact as Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Fatherless, which is set in the future, is very much open to the inherent pitfalls of speculation and prediction. Interpretation of current attitudes, economic and political changes, and changes in medical technology are just a few of these.
I definitely hope Fatherless doesn’t ignite a war given these inherent issues.
Again, I can’t say Fatherless is a bad novel. I haven’t read it, but is it Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Well, only time will tell. I guess I have to concede my predictions are open to the same vicissitudes as the novel. It seems unlikely though.
Has anyone read it? How does it measure up?