- O, that's what troubles me, papa. You want me to live so happy, and never have any pain,—never suffer anything,—not even hear a sad story, when other poor creatures have nothing but pain and sorrow, all their lives... Papa, isn't there any way to have all slaves made free?
- —Evangeline St. Clare
Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe shortly before the American Civil War, Uncle Tom's Cabin is famous for strengthening the cause of abolitionism in the United States. When he met Stowe, Abraham Lincoln commented, "So this is the little lady who started this great war."
The book is also notable for a less significant reason: it is a prime example of what rampant, unchecked canon distortion can do to a continuum.
After Uncle Tom's Cabin became wildly popular, it was repeatedly adapted, and so bastardized in adaptation that the original plot near-completely disappeared. Uncle Tom's Cabin was heavily featured in minstrel shows, with black characters frequently portrayed by white actors in blackface. Many of these adaptations can be considered, in a way, to have been an 1800s version of fan fiction, with a very similar and damaging effect on the canon of the novel. In these adaptations, characters were often removed or unrecognizably changed, events were lifted out or changed, and the entire point of the story was often completely ignored—some adaptations were actually pro-slavery.
Due to these adaptations, Uncle Tom's Cabin has suffered heavy canon damage, so that some parts of the continuum are unrecognizable or have simply vanished. Particularly badly affected are the characters Tom, Topsy, and Eva; the Ohio River; and the St. Clare plantation. Many OCs infest the continuum. PPC agents are advised not to enter the continuum unless absolutely necessary.
Today, the novel has received criticism because the author used stereotypes as the basis for some of her black characters, though she used the stereotypes to create realistic, three-dimensional people that readers could easily sympathize with. Unfortunately, in the years following the novel's publication, the unapproved adaptations of the story began to turn the characters back into stereotypes, and these stereotypes began to supplant the original characters in the public mind. To a great extent, criticism of the novel may be directed more at the adaptations than on the original work (illustrated by the term "uncle tom" to mean a happy, extremely subservient slave, which describes many character replacements but not the original character, who is shown yearning for freedom and helping other slaves escape—at the cost of his own life).
Despite the extreme canon distortion it has suffered over the years, Uncle Tom's Cabin is considered a classic and still read as a part of US history. It is a credit to the talent of the author and the historical significance of the novel that the continuum refuses to disappear entirely despite heavy, long-term damage. Nevertheless, it is a rare fandom—a blessing in disguise, since Uncle Tom's Cabin fan fiction has become extremely rare. With most of its modern readers being highly literate students of history, the Civil Rights movement, or the classics, degradation of the continuum has almost entirely halted, and it is likely to remain in its present state for the foreseeable future.
Evangeline St. Clare Edit
Uncle Tom's Cabin is home to the Canon Sue Evangeline St. Clare, whose purpose in-canon is to be so completely unprejudiced as to shame Ophelia into losing her prejudice against the black slaves. Also known as "Little Eva," she is morally perfect, always kindhearted and generous, reforms everyone around her (except for her mother), and even has magical color-changing hair (described as brown, blond, and everything in between). She then proceeds to die in a very melodramatic fashion. Eva is one of many "angelic child" characters which were so popular in the 1800s and early 1900s, most of whom were very strongly Sueish in their perfection, especially if they were also author favorites.
Minis spawned in this continuum are mini-Legrees.