Character Analysis George Harris


George Harris, Eliza's husband, quickly takes over Eliza's plot almost totally — partly because Eliza (unlike Chloe) is so traditionally submissive a wife that, had George been present when Haley caught up with her at the Ohio River, she might have fainted and allowed her husband to carry both her and Harry across; but also, partly, because George (like Chloe) has such a healthy sense of his own worth that he demands centrality. We like George from the moment that he tells Eliza, in the third chapter, that he is a better man than the one whose "property" he is. George manages to be incensed and indignant without being either sullen or arrogant; handsome, intelligent people who have been loved but not spoiled in their childhood seem to be able to pull this off, and George — although his stupid master treats him worse than badly — has been lucky enough to have an older sister who raised him well (before she disappeared into the fleshpots of New Orleans); an employer who saw him as a talented human being, rather than as a tool for making a larger profit; and of course a wife who worships him.

George's ancestry is mostly white, and we feel that Stowe consciously arranged this not only so that he could have a better chance of escaping (a bit of historically accurate unfairness) but also because his "Anglo-Saxon" blood, as she believed, allowed him to be more aggressive and adventurous than someone genetically closer to Africa. George himself, however, renounces his white ancestors in the end, saying he would prefer to have darker skin; obviously, he expects the great civilization that he (like Stowe) believes will make itself known in Africa to rise with or without the help of light-skinned people like himself. We readers (who no longer are tempted to ascribe his revolutionary zeal to any specific part of his genetic inheritance) may wish George well in the Liberia of his future, but perhaps the picture of him we find most memorable is that taken in the moment when he shouts defiance down to Loker, Marks, and their drunken posse — a speech definitely wasted upon such ears — and then shoots Loker, scaring the rest of them away.