Stowe provides further details about her story based on actual events in A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Stowe believed that the character of Topsy could be found in the North and the South. Even though slavery had been abolished in the North, she did not believe it disappeared. Topsy’s struggle with education was the same as any child’s struggle to learn and perfect their learning. Enslaved children were made to be hopeless, when it came to education. With little inspiration, what did they have to work for?
A story Stowe tells in A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is about an acquaintance of hers who married a slaveholder in Louisiana. She was warned that stealing was an issue and that she should lock up her possessions. Instead, despite ridicule, she intended on training the enslaved people to “act properly”. The enslaved people were grateful for the trust she had in them and the idea that they too could possess honor.
The full story of this connection can be read in Chapter XII , “Topsy” of A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.