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 life of a slave woman is far more complex than that of a slave man, although understandably equal in hardships, the experience for a woman is incredibly different. The oppression that women have faced throughout their lives in the struggle to even be considered equal to men is more than evident in slavery, not only because they were thought of as lesser but in some ways many women actually believed it to be true. The experiences that Linda Brent, pseudonym for the author Harriet A. Jacobs, went through in her life story in Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl prove that the difficulties for slave women were more than significant in many different cases. For Linda Brent, her life had been a constant fight since she was six years old
When Douglass is a child he is the under Mr. Plummer. His Aunt Hester is constantly whipped by Mr. Plummer. Once when she was seen with Lloyd Ned, a person she was fond of, Mr. Plummer became extremely furious. “Before he commenced whipping Aunt Hester, he took her into the kitchen and stripped her from neck to waist… He then told her to cross her hands, calling her at the same time a d--d b--h… and after rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood came and dripped to the floor,” (Douglass 948). Douglass does not express his feelings when he’s describing the beating of Aunt Hester. He is very direct and factual with his writing. By writing objectively, he is allowing the reader to envision the scene and come up with their own beliefs on slavery. However, because the scene descriptively shows a gruesome act, the reader is indirectly swayed into believing that slavery awful and unjust. In addition, Douglass also uses subjective writing when he describes his feelings when staying with Mr. Covey. He states, “I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished… the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute,” (Douglass 973). By displaying his feelings to the
Douglass' mistress treated all her slaves as if she would treat any other human beings. As Douglass explains, "She was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman..... She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach" (101). She lacked a general depravity towards the slaves and promoted education among the slaves at first. But, her husband did not; he knew if his slaves had knowledge about slavery and were literate and able to verbally defend themselves, the wall separating African-American slaves and White men will eventually break and free men power will no longer be available. When Douglass was in an unsupervised room for more than a reasonable period of time, he got "suspected of having a book, and was at once called to give an account of himself" (101). Master Hugh's corrupted morality blocked Douglass' every attempt to learn more about literacy and slavery.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs is a personal story that highlights the injustice of slavery. This book was based on the author’s
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.
In the book Narrative of The Life of Fredrick Douglass, and American Slave, we find that Fredrick went through a lot of manipulating and diminishable acts. Some are: being separated from his mother at birth, being whipped, witnessing aunt Hester being whipped as a kid, not getting enough to eat, a deprivement of clothes, and witnessing old Barney getting killed. Slave owners would do this to make slaves inferior and also have insurance that the slaves won’t run away. Despite these horrific conditions, Douglass through standing up to Mr. Covey, Learning to read and write, and earning his own money, eventually got the skill and courage to escape slavery.
In the statement “Enslaved women and their children could be separated at any time, and even if they belonged to the same owner, strict labor policies and plantation regulations severely limited the development of their relationships” (Li,14), it supports the idea of the acts of slavery disregarding a female slave and her young having a relationship. In the slave narrative, it shows that sometimes a punishment for not pleasing your master can be separated from your kid shown through “This poor woman endured many cruelties from her master and mistress; sometimes she was locked up, away from her nursing baby, for a whole day” (Jacobs,13). Dr. Flint, Linda as well as other slaves master, had a cook who was ordered to cook mush for their pet dog. The dog refused to eat what she was ordering to cook and died. The punishment for a dog dying was the poor lady being taken away from her infant. As can be seen, taking away the relationship between mother and child takes away the rights as a mother of a female slave. Sadly, it has to be remembered that a female slave is not looked at as a mother but her and her offspring are only viewed as a property and labor.
It was then that he became aware of his current status: a lowly slave that was considered to be a chattel. And it was then that he wanted his freedom. Meanwhile, the venom slave owner began to poison Sophia?s kind nature. Sadly, Douglass was once again a piece of meat and he no longer viewed the black race as one of the whites. Also, his views for white slave owners changed similarly; his heart was filled with abhorrence for them (Douglass 42). There were many times when Douglass thought about running away to become a free man, but there were few times when he was really determined to fulfill the risky and dangerous task. One of the few times came during the year when he worked for Edward Covey. Douglass became a field hand for the first time in his life. It was one of the few times he felt like a slave. He was not skilled in the backbreaking work required of him. Covey was a harsh and brutal slaveholder. Mr. Covey made his slaves work in all weathers. It was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow, too hard in the field (Douglass 66). And if it wasn?t work, work, work, it was beatings, beatings, and beatings. Douglass was often whipped and battered for not working ?hard enough.? Under Covey, Douglass and the other slaves were treated as the lowlifes of society, as low as horses and pigs. After six months under Covey, Douglass lost interest in reading and the
Douglass’s own personal experiences reveals just how quickly slavery can change a life. On January 1, 1833, Douglass was reassigned to Mr. Covey, a sadistic man who enjoyed catching slaves doing something wrong off guard. In just six months, Douglass was forced to work under all circumstances. He proclaims that “it was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow, too hard for us to work in the field” (pg 37). The results of this treatment were devastating. Deprived of time to rest and stripped of his dignity, Douglass was “broken in body, soul, and spirit” (pg 38). Eventually, it appears as if Douglass becomes depressed as his “intellect languished”, his “disposition to read departed”, and “the cheerful spark that lingered about his eyes died” (pg 38). From Douglass’s personal experience, readers can see how just minimal exposure to slavery can dehumanize a man into depression. Additionally, Douglass literally says that he was “a man transformed into a brute!” (pg 38). Through Douglass’s experiences, readers can certainly see that slavery dismantles the lives of its poor
Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl had a different explanation narrative story than any other slavery stories we had read, especially with male-authored narrative because Jacob was engaging the readers with the issue she had challenged in her time period. Jacob mentions that her family was the most important people in her life because she gave us an idea that her family were depended to her emotional support (153-155). In fact, family was the most important mechanism for many slaves because they were dependent on each other for friendship, especially to maintain their confidence no matter what the situation they are going through.
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 presents the evils of slavery as being worse in a woman's case due to the tenets of gender identity. 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 woman screamed) Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?" Linda explains that things like this happen daily, even hourly. This is only a small piece of the torture it was to be a woman in slavery. Linda’s master often made perverted comments to her in which she expressed as to filthy to tell. He began to fill her mind with awful thoughts and words. He often slapped Linda and kicked her around. He was constantly threatening her and her life explaining that he would never sell her and that she would be in their damily as long as he had an heir. When Linda became pregnant with the son of a white man, he became very angry and he constantly reminded her that her baby was to be his property, like a piece of land to be bought. When she had the boy she named Benjamin, he was premature and she became very ill. She refused to let anyone send for a doctor, because the only doctor that could treat her was Dr. Flint. Finally when they thought she would die they sent for her master. He treated her and she refused him as much as possible, but she lived and so did her little Benny, although sometimes she wished he would’ve died. Almost three years later she had a daughter who she called Ellen which angered him even more and when Benny began to run to cling to his mother when he was striking her, Dr. Flint knocked the child all the way across the room nearly killing him.
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
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl opens with an introduction in which the writer, Harriet Jacobs, expresses her purposes behind composing her life account. Her story is difficult, and she would rather have kept it private, however she feels that making it open may help the