Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Jaws'

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Before Jaws, based on the novel by Peter Benchley, was released in 1975, great white sharks were not the vengeful predators they are believed to be nowadays. However, when the movie was released and became wildly popular, the vilification of sharks was such that humans started to actively kill them, dramatically reducing the number of the specie over the next decades. In fact, the influence of this piece of fiction in the collective perception of white sharks was so extreme, that it became known as the “Jaws Effect”. But the effects of fiction in society did not begin there; before there was cinema or electronic media, one of the most spread means of communication was written work or literature. In the words of Ryan & Ryan (n.d) be it fiction…show more content…
That is why many authors have chosen to criticize and defy the established order, conventions and values of their time through their stories. A great example of the influence written works can have in society is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852, on a time of tension between northern and southern American states regarding slavery. More specifically, the book was written as a reaction to the infamous Fugitive Slave Law that required that all citizens returned any runaway slave to their original master if found, even in the free states. Many northerners abolitionist opposed this law, including Harriet Beecher Stowe. As a result, she wrote a story that centered in a black slaved called Uncle Tom who was under the service of cruel masters, in an effort to expose the horrors of slavery. In fact, she wrote that novel explicitly to convince her large readership that is was mandatory to end slavery. To accomplish this, she portrayed the human effects of slavery, hoping that readers would empathized with the enslaved characters, and she succeeded. Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a bestseller, with 10,000 copies sold in the United States in its first week only, and it is believed to have influenced the American Civil War. According to popular legend, when Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe met in 1862 he greeted her by saying “So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War." (Impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Slavery, and the Civil War, n.d), revealing the great impact her writing had in American

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