Legree Plantation



"The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."


Stowe used this quote from Psalms to open Uncle Tom's Chapter XXXII, "Dark Places," and Legree's plantation is revealed to be a dark place indeed. Just as the Quaker Settlement is an earthly paradise, Legree's plantation is hell on earth.

In every particular, Legree's house and plantation are what Rachel Halliday's house and the Quaker Settlement are not. Unlike Rachel who controls by gentle urging ("'Hadn't thee better?'") Legree oppresses by fostering universal hatred among his slaves and "playing off one against the other." Where Rachel's kitchen is "neatly-painted," its floor "glossy and smooth, without a particle of dust," Legree's sitting-room has "that peculiar sickening, unwholesome smell," a mixture of "damp, dirt and decay."

As for the slave quarters, Tom finds his shelter very different from the cabin he'd shared with Chloe, or his room at St. Clare's; "They had a forlorn, brutal, forsaken air. Tom's heart sunk when he saw them. He had been comforting himself with the though of a cottage, rude, indeed, but one which he might make neat and quiet, and where he might have a shelf for his Bible, and a place to be alone outside of his laboring hours."

CHAPTER XXXII
Dark Places