Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 34
Tom is lying alone, bleeding from his wounds, in an abandoned room in an old gin house on the property. A woman enters carrying a lantern, and it is Cassy. She gives Tom water and dresses his wounds. She tells him to give up, as it is no use trying to be pious and helpful to others. He tells her that he can never give up:
"'Poor critturs! What made 'em cruel?--and, if I give out, I shall get used to 't, and grow, little by little, just like 'em! No, no, Missis! I've lost everything,--wife and children, and home, and a kind Mas'r,--and he would have set me free, if he'd only lived a week longer; I've lost everything in this world, and it's clean gone, forever,--and now I can't lose Heaven, too; no, I can't get to be wicked, besides all!'" Chapter 34, pg. 359
She replies that if there is a God, he has already given up on them:
"'When I was a girl, I thought I was religious; I used to love God and prayer. Now, I'm a lost soul, pursued by devils that torment me day and night; they keep pushing me on and on--and I'll do it, too, some of these days! I'll send him where he belongs,--a short way, too,--one of these nights, if they burn me alive for it!'" Chapter 34, pg. 366
Tom says that it doesn't matter how he could come to be as wicked and cruel as Sambo, it is being that way that he couldn't handle. Cassy realizes the meaning of his words, and exclaims aloud with anguish.
Tom asks her to read from his Bible. She does, and the words touch her to such a degree that she begins sobbing. She asks aloud why God puts them into circumstances under which they cannot help but sin. Tom tells her that they can help it, and she replies that for her, there is no hope, that she and the others have been so broken down that they want to die but cannot kill themselves. She tells him her story--how she was raised in a proper family and educated, but when her father died, it was revealed that he had so many debts that his property was auctioned off, and Cassy was included in it. A gentleman bought her, and she became his lover, though he never married her. He refused to marry, but she stayed with him anyway and bore him two children, a daughter and a son, whom she adored. One day he sold her and the children to clear off his gambling debts. He sold her and the children to his cousin, who told her that she was his now. She submitted to him for fear of having her children sold, though she hated him. One day she discovered that he had sold her son, and she grabbed a knife and jumped at him. She did not remember what happened next, only that she woke up in a room that was not hers, under the care of people she did not know. She discovered that her husband had left and that she was to be sold.
A kindly man named Stuart bought her and tracked down her children, offering huge sums to purchase them. But the sellers refused. She then was taken to Stuart's plantation and bore another son not long after. But she poisoned the child to death two months after he was born to spare him the harsh life of slavery. Her master died of yellow fever, and she was then sold to Legree. When she concludes her story, she tells Tom that she once believed in God but no longer does. After her passionate speech, she collects herself and offers Tom more water. Tom tells her that he wishes she would find comfort in God and try to believe. She makes sure he is comfortable, then leaves the shed.