Continuing our survey of the 19th century, let’s take a look now at Harriet Beecher Stowe. Now Stowe is best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that details the harshness of plantation life in the south. The book was extremely popular in the United States as well as in other countries. Ironically though, for all the attention given to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it’s far from Stowe’s best work. She did write one other novel about life in the south, but much of her best work has nothing with the south at all. In fact, Stowe’s best writing is about village life in the New England’s states in the 19th century. In recording to the customs of the villages she wrote about, Stowe claimed that her purpose was to reflect the images as realistically as possible. She usually succeeded, for her settings were often described accurately and in detail. In this sense, she was an important forerunner to the realistic movement that became popular later in the 19th century. She was one of the first writers to use local dialect for her characters when they spoke. And she did this for 30 years before Mark Twain popularized the use of local dialect. It makes sense that Stowe would write about New England life, since she was born in Connecticut. As a young woman there, she worked as a teacher. The teaching job helped lead to her first published work, a geography book for children. Later when she was married, her writing helped her support her family financially. Throughout her life, she wrote poems, travel books, biographical sketches and children’s books, as well as novels for adults.