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Essay example - Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet A. Jacobs, Writing as Linda Brent

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Pages 3 (753 words)
In this book, Harriet Jacobs not only presents her autobiography as a series of 'incidents', her own personal experiences, but throughout her narrative, seeks to inform the reader of important social, legislative and historical issues which impacted upon those held in slavery in 19th century America…

Extract of sample

When that mistress, Margaret Horniblow died, everything changed for the worse for Harriet, who was willed to Dr. Norcom, the Dr. Flint in 'Incidents'.
While he did not actually whip her, he sexually harassed the girl, an issue she seeks to expose in order to enlist the understanding and action of Northern white women; that a slave woman has no freedom either as a person or a woman. Flint makes this clear, often.
It is difficult to select only three critical incidents in her life, but one has to be the suffering endured at the hands of both Dr. Flint and his jealous wife. The effect of this caused her to abandon her moral stance regarding purity, and almost lost her the allegiance of her grandmother. By the taking of a white lover, Lawyer Sands, (Samuel Treadwell Sawyer) and bearing him two children, she may be considered to be enslaving herself further. She explains that such action was a means of self protection, for Flint still tormented her, wishing to set her up as his mistress in a cottage somewhere, and she could not succumb to this form of enslavement. Instead, she chose to
use her sexuality as a means of escape. The children do however, belong to Flint, but with the hope of them being set free, she removes herself, going into hiding for seven years in her grandmother's attic. ...
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