Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an instance of a slave narrative with special focus on the exploitation of slave-women at the hands of their masters. The primary focus of the novel is to portray women in different relationships: mother-daughter, friends,…
The writer describes the endurance and courage of “true women” in the face of many dangers to their honor and existence. The narrative achieves unity through a special focus on women in conflict with the world around them. Women like Linda, the protagonist of the novel, face the world individually, but the support of Aunt Martha and Nancy helps them face the oppression of their masters bravely. The focus of novel seems to be on gender, which brings women of color close to the white women. Linda Brent’s story shows how the mutual support from their own gender made female slaves lives bearable and lent them courage and endurance to come to terms with their life stricken with violence.
Harriet Jacobs wrote this novel with an understanding that its target audience will be “Northern White Women” who, after reading this work, may influence their white spouses regarding slavery to bring about a positive change in their attitude. Jacobs in her preface states, “I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women in the South, still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them far worse” (Jacobs 10). Andrews seems to agree to the above given statement as he says that “Jacobs’s prime motive in writing incidents was to forge a bond of sympathetic identification between white women of the North and slave mothers in the South” (Andrews 26). She tried to win the sympathies of white women by touching their feminine sensitivity to further her cause of acquainting them with the dangerous situations of black slave girls.
The novel throws light on strong affiliation between slave women. The consciousness of their miserable situations as slaves is alleviated through a feeling that some women of their own class are with them. In their company they lend a happy coloring to their otherwise violence stricken life. Linda Brent’s relationship ...
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(Harriet Jacobs: Incidence in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay - 1)
“Harriet Jacobs: Incidence in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay - 1”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/english/588322-harriet-jacobs-incidence-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl.
However, when Jacobs reached the age of 8, Hornblow also died, and the ownership of Harriet as a slave was transferred to a girl of just 5 years old (the niece of Hornblow). Because a 5 year old girl could not legally be in possession of a slave, the Jacob was automatically placed in the care of the father of this child, Dr.
In the story, Linda has to choose between her desire for freedom and the personal responsibility for her family, especially her two children. Accordingly, a slave family was a source of motivation or hindrance to slave in their efforts to attain independence and freedom.
" retorted the mistress. "There is no such place for the like of her and her bastard” (172) In this quote, a sobbing mother witnesses her child dying, this quote means a lot to me since it demonstrates the extremes of incarceration and merciless slavery that was going on during that time.
Slavery in America dates back to early 1500 as the first African slaves arrived in America in 1501. Slavery has a tremendous negative impact on the lives of the victims according to Harriet Jacobs. The thesis of this study is the effects of slavery to humankind.
The primary focus of the novel is to portray women in different relationships: mother-daughter, friends, mistress-slave etc. The story not just depicts these relationships, but the writer seems to show that relationships were the supporting forces in the violence stricken life of slave girls.
While depicting the painful realities of a slave woman’s life she makes her narrator Linda Brent comment that “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women” (Jacobs 64). By comparing herself with other male slaves, she tells that female slaves’ conditions are far worse than the male slaves’ for several reasons.
Linda’s story endeavours to provoke the compassion of her readers in order to endorse humanitarianism. However, this is not done in the usual way of depicting a female as a weakling who just accepts all that is handed to her. Most writers attempt to bring out compassion in a character by using the stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ role.
Born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813, she was owned by a kindly mistress and, because orphaned, raised by her maternal grandmother, Molly Horniblow, a free woman, who is the Aunt Martha of her book She learned to read, write and sew, was a bright girl and hoped her mistress would free her.
However realizing the significance of the story she ventured to publish the book under the pseudonym Linda Brent and under auspices of other promiment abolishinists of the time –Amy Post and L. Maria Child.
Writing under the pseudonym made many experts doubt the
Flint, who instead of protecting Linda sees her as a potential threat to her marriage (Jacobs, 2004). Linda tells the story of two sisters raised together, but one is the other ones slave. She does this to show that her plight is no different
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