Sentimentality is the over-reliance on emotions and feelings as the guide to some truth and it often entails appeal to very shallow feelings rather than a reason to find the truth.
The fireside poets (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Cullen Bryant) were the first American poets to rival English poets both in USA and England. In the present world, their poems may seem Victorian rather than romantic in sensibility perhaps over-sentimental/in a moralizing tone. These poets were inspired by their lives experiences that in most cases made them more sentimental in their writing, Henry Longfellow for instance both his first and second wife died of miscarriage and in fire respectively, ( Perkins, pg, 364-368) this made him criticized for being too sentimental among the fireside poets and through this in his voices of the night, hymn to the night portrays his romantic nature and in “A psalm of life” it gives his influence by other poets and how he directed his writing to real life happenings;
“Life is real! Life is earnest!
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife.”
In his “Ballads and other poems,” he was sentimental in then verse of “Maidenhood” (“In each life, rain must fall, / some days will be dark & dreary”)
In these poems, he taught his audience the reality of life that in some cases life shall below and all may seem blocked and dark but these are real and that one has to face this life with courage.
Oliver Holmes’ poems were also affected by the sentimental nature of the writer for example in his work of his Maiden Aunt; he is quite sentimental in the sense that it’s feminist. It includes the early of the lady and in the end, one gets disappointed and embarrassed. (Perkins, pg, 373-378)
I know it hurts her,—though she looks
As cheerful as she can;
Her waist is ampler than her life,
For life is but a span.
John Greenleaf on the other hand, after the death of his mother and sister and the American civil war he had grief and wrote “snow-Bound” and in his “Maud-Muller” he was sentimental in these lines “Of all sad words of tongue and pen/ The saddest are these, ‘It might have been” (Perkins, pg, 369-372)
Though it might be criticized that they were guided by their emotions to write, in my view they have taught their audience the reality of life, what people encounter both good and bad and they’ve rightly brought it out by their use of sentimentality.
This notion that “slavery is worse for the master than the slave” was that some slaveholders sympathized with the mistreatment of the slaves since the abolition of slavery in some states in the USA. And I agree with Harriett Beecher Stowe’s use of St. Claire to bring this notion since the mistreatment of the slaves was dehumanizing and torturous to the human race thus sympathy of slaveholders was appropriate. (SparkNotes Editors, pg 7).
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” seeks to protect & persuade readers that slaves’ emancipation that it’s evil & intolerable in the society and this makes it predominantly religious and an anti slavery activist novel that condemned the mistreatment of slaves based on the biblical teachings. (Perkins, pg, 379-401) It’s a sentimental and melodramatic novel in the sense that it appeals to emotions in the audience’s mind giving guilty and injustice sense, and the audience can see how slavery is injurious to humans and their families. With the introduction of Southern families, demonstrates the way slavery corrupts and destroys the domestic stability of families. (SparkNotes Editors, pg 3).
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” SparkNotes.com.
SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 14 Jun. 2012.
Perkins, G. “Fireside poets/Anti-slavery.” Perkins_2011_WEEK12 4.101 (2001): 40. Print.