Stephanie J. Turner Ms. J. Reed EN 320 5 December 2011 Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Jacobs’s construction of black female empowerment despite the limitations
In “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, Harriet Jacobs shares her experience as a slave, from sexual advances from her master to being safe by being trapped in a crawling space intending to evoke an emotional response from Northern free women. Jacobs writes specifically to this group in order to enlighten them on the specific suffering of female slaves, mainly abuse from masters, and gain their sympathy, so they will move to abolish slavery. In order to complete this, Jacobs is compelled to break the conventions of proper female behavior at the time. Harriet Jacobs demonstrates the suffering of female slaves by creating a feminine connection to her female audience with the intention of earning their sympathy, defying the cult of
In the short story “Girl”, by Jamaica Kincaid is told from the perspective of two different people. There is a bonding relationship that is happening between the two people in this short story. The mother seems to be the main character in this essay uses a very strict tone to her daughter. The daughter is being told about how to do things in her life the correct way. The daughter barely speaks during this essay, she is doing more analyzing than arguing with her mother. When the mother gives the daughter advise she was trying to give her words of wisdom. But, at the same time, some of the ideas the mother gave to her child was offensive like “slut”. The mother has different perspectives throughout this essay with a lot of different
Women in Society For centuries, women have had the role of being the perfect and typical house wife; needs to stay home and watch the children, cook for husbands, tend to the laundry and chores around the house. In her short story “Girl”, Jamaica Kincaid provides a long one sentence short story about a mother giving specific instructions to her daughter but with one question towards the end, with the daughter’s mother telling her daughter if she had done all the instructions to become a so called “perfect” woman, every man would want her. Kincaid’s structuring in “Girl,” captures a demanding and commanding tone. This short story relates to feminist perspectives. The mother expects a great deal from her daughter to have a certain potential and she does not hesitate to let her daughter understand that. As a matter of fact, the story is about two pages long, made into one long sentence - almost the whole time the mother is giving her daughter directions to follow - conveys a message to the reader that the mother demands and expects great potential in her daughter. The daughter is forced to listen and learn from what her mother is telling her to do to become the perfect housewife. Throughout the story, Kincaid uses the symbols of the house and clothing, benna and food to represent the meanings of becoming a young girl to a woman and being treated like one in society. Women are portrayed to appeal to a man to become the ideal woman in society, while men can do anything they please.
In Jamaica Kincaid’s short story “Girl,” the narration of a mother lecturing her daughter with sharp, commanding diction and unusual syntax, both affect the evolution of a scornful tone, that her daughter’s behavior will eventually lead her to a life of promiscuity that will affect the way people perceive her and respect her within her social circle. As well as the fact that it emphasizes expectations for young women to conform to a certain feminine ideal of domesticity as a social norm during this time and the danger of female sexuality.
Slavery was common in the eighteenth century. Slaves were seen as property, as they were taken from their native land and forced into long hours of labor. The experience was traumatic for both black men and black women. They were physically and mentally abused by slave owners, dehumanized by the system, and ultimately denied their fundamental rights to a favorable American life. Although African men and women were both subjected to the same enslavement, men and women had different experiences in slavery based on their gender. A male perspective can be seen in, My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass. A female perspective is shared in Harriet Jacobs’ narrative titled, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Upon reading both of the viewpoints provided, along with outside research, one can infer that women had it worse.
A Woman’s Worth in the Hard Times of Slavery Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, a slave narrative written by Harriet Ann Jacobs is highly commended for the portrayal of women during the excruciating times of slavery. Disregarding that the slave narrative was initially written for the audience of
The narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglas were nothing short of powerful as their unique resilience reflected a gruesome upbringing that would then influence audiences everywhere. Immediately the reader is introduced to the gendered distinctions in narratives as Douglas has letters and statements of prominent men reinforce the validity
Harriet Jacobs Racial and Gender Oppression Harriet Jacobs wrote, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” using the pseudonym Linda Brent, and is among the most well-read female slave narratives in American history. Jacobs faces challenges as both a slave and as a mother. She was exposed to discrimination in numerous fronts including race, gender, and intelligence. Jacobs also appeals to the audience about the sexual harassment and abuse she encountered as well as her escape. Her story also presents the effectiveness of her spirit through fighting racism and showing the importance of women in the community.
Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl The feminist movement sought to gain rights for women. Many feminist during the early nineteenth century fought for the abolition of slavery around the world. The slave narrative became a powerful feminist tool in the nineteenth century. Black and white women are fictionalized and objectified in the slave narrative. White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and chaste while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, brought the sexual oppression of captive black women into the public and political arena.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs strongly speaks to its readers by describing the brutalities of slavery and the way slave owners can destroy peaceful lives. After reading and rereading the story have noticed certain things regarding how Jacobs tries to educate her readers and her intended audience which is the women of the North. As if we do not know enough about how terrible slavery is, this story gives detailed examples of the lives of slaves and provokes an incredible amount of emotions. She uses several tactics in her writing to reach her desired audience and does so very well.
In "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl", Harriet Jacobs writes, "Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women" (64). Jacobs' work shows the evils of slavery as being worse in a woman's case by the gender. Jacobs elucidates the disparity between societal dictates of what the proper roles were for Nineteenth century women and the manner that slavery prevented a woman from fulfilling these roles. The book illustrates the double standard of for white women versus black women. Harriet Jacobs serves as an example of the female slave's desire to maintain the prescribed virtues but how her circumstances often prevented her from practicing.
The slave narratives of the ante-bellum time period have come across numerous types of themes. Much of the work concentrates on the underlining ideas beneath the stories. In the narratives, fugitives and ex-slaves appealed to the humanity they shared with their readers during these times, men being lynched and marked all over and women being the subject of grueling rapes. "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas" and "Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" themes come from the existence of the slaves morality that they are forced compromise to live. Both narrators show slave narratives in the point of view of both "men and women slaves that had to deal with physical, mental, and moral abuse during the times of slavery."
The character that believed that was the most compelling from Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is Linda. I felt that I could relate to Linda in multiple ways. For instance, she was a mother that would do anything and everything for her children. My mother and my foster mother Mary love me unconditionally and they would do anything in their power for me. One of the many moments I believed was compelling was when Linda escaped from her master and lived in her grandmother’s attic just so that she will be kept safe from her evil master Dr. Flint. Just like Linda, I suffered from emotional and sexual abuse. I would whatsoever to get out of a horrific situation What made this situation worse, she had to watch her children grow
These illustrations, along with many others, are the types of images Harriet Jacobs To begin, Harriett Jacobs carefully formulates a narrative that depicts the lives of slave girls and women as it truly was lived. Rather than conform to the readers' tastes and avoid the horrible gruesome details of the lives of female slaves, Jacobs grasps these events and passionately depicts them to her readers in hopes of some form of compassion. She knows her readers are never going to completely understand what women in slavery went through (it would take living it to comprehend) but she feels to protect them from these truths is only greater blurring the understanding of these issues. Jacobs details her life in hopes that her audience will begin to understand the hardships undertaken by innocent black women in the south and no longer sit quietly by and watch. Jacobs states that slavery is far more appalling for women; "they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own" (825). In order to truly touch her intended audience, she brings up topics that all women, free or enslaved, can understand - adultery, family, love. She hopes that by creating a piece that touches the personal lives of women, she will make it difficult for them not to stand in her shoes, even if just for a moment.