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." …show more content…
Critics have almost always cited the hunger for literacy as one of the most prominent themes found in slave narratives; scholars repeat that the average slave narratives stress the importance of learning to read and write. Douglass uses irony and a sense of unawareness in his narrative to describe "the toils of women through his aunt’s afflictions but failed...to accurately address and interpret," (James 34) these strategies attempt to validate his role as a "fugitive American slave narrator, seeking a written document to prove that"(James 27) he has obviously suggested through language the free territory he claims. The connection for Douglass between the wanting of literacy and personal worth is what he focuses on primarily throughout the narrative. Douglass establishes himself as a man who is deserving of freedom, and that itself is a major significance to other slave narratives. This generalization doesn't extend to the slave narrative written by Harriet Jacobs who focuses on the brutality that women slaves face compared to men slaves. She states many times the fact that women slaves are degraded and treated "less than there worth." (Jacobs 29) Slaves begged for freedom and denounced slavery in every way possible, in "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas", an underlying theme was that slavery was a dysfunctional system that ironically destroyed masters as well as slaves. The narrators of both narratives were detailing the gruesome truths
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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.
Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass were both slaves that wrote about their struggles and pain during their years of slavery. Both stories were the same but also very different. Both Jacobs and Douglass were born into slavery. The stories were written by authors that finally gained their freedom from slavery. Jacob’s wrote “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” and Frederick Douglass wrote, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”. Jacob’s wrote it in a woman point of view and gave us a look at how the women that were slaves experienced life; whereas Douglass wrote as a male slave and the brutality.
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.
Slaves suffered but weren’t the victims of slave holders. They suffered from slavery. Frederick Douglass wrote a narrative of his position in slavery and as clearly as the sun in the sky, is against it, bringing together those who were too scared to voice their opinion and those who were willing to change. In his narrative he wanted to spread awareness about the American slave system and that it corrupts slave holders as well as harming slaves with his personal experience.
Since the beginning of writing, literature has played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the world. The same holds true when referring to the early American history topic of slavery. Many abolitionists wrote in hopes that their views will persuade people in America to take a stand against slavery. While there were many authors that led the anti-slavery movement, the most successful writers were the slaves that lived through this atrocious time period and were able to recall their experiences. Two prominent authors during this time period were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. While the two writers shared many common experiences due to their time being a slave, they also had had a variety of differences. Harriet Jacobs wrote mostly wrote in a way that appealed to people’s emotions and focused on what a woman goes through as a slave; whereas Douglass focused on freedom and manhood.
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 of his work while Jacobs is forced to create a pleading tone for acknowledgement of her experience as a female slave. Although slavery was an excruciating experience that unjustly plagued millions of African Americans, gender roles and constructs allowed for distinct offenses that forced women to experience unique abuse relative to their male counterparts. The narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglas reinforced the trials of slavery with examples of educational hardship, physical trauma and differing aspirations of freedom. These factors and a few others such as motherhood and masculinity influenced their legacy in context of slavery as a gendered experience.
In these two tales of brutal bondage, Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the modern reader can decipher two vastly different experiences from circumstances that were not altogether that dissimilar. Both narratives tell the story of a slave gaining his or her freedom from cruel masters, yes, but that is where the most prominent similarities end. Not only are they factually different, these stories are entirely distinct in their themes.
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 and Frederick Douglass both wrote narratives that detailed their lives as slaves in the antebellum era. Both of these former slaves managed to escape to the North and wanted to expose slavery for the evil thing it was. The accounts tell equally of depravity and ugliness though they are different views of the same rotten institution. Like most who managed to escape the shackles of slavery, these two authors share a common bond of tenacity and authenticity. Their voices are different—one is timid, quiet, and almost apologetic while the other one is loud, strong, and confident—but they are both authentic. They both also through out the course of their narratives explain their desires to be free from the horrible practice of slavery.
Men and Women’s treatment has been different as long as the two have been around to notice the difference. Even in the realm of slavery women and men were not treated the same although both were treated in horrible ways. Harriet Jacobs and Fredrick Douglass’ story is very similar both were born into slavery and later rose above the oppression to become molders of minds. In time of subjugation to African Americans these two writers rose up and did great things especially with their writing. Both Douglass and Jacobs’ experienced different types of slavery, it shaped their perspective on everything and it also shows the importance of their freedom.
During the final years of legal slave ownership in the United States, the slave narrative became a popular way for literate enslaved people to express their anti-slavery stance through their own testimony. Two of the most influential writers on the slave narrative topic were the autobiographical authors Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. Since Douglas and Jacobs were both born in a similar time period, there are many similarities found in their works. Douglass’s Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave is closely comparable to Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl when analyzing how they represented their enslavement in their autobiographies. The two authors have similar ideas when portraying their struggles with forced ignorance. Their writing also contains parallels with the corrupting power of slavery for the slave owners, as well as the parallels in pointing out the hypocrisies of using the bible to defend slavery. These similarities can be explained in part due to Douglass and Jacobs following the same basic slave narrative outline to maintain the shared goal of abolishing slavery in the United States.
Harriet Jacobs, in her narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, was born into slavery in the south. While her youth contained “six years of happy childhood,” a few tragedies and mistresses later, Jacobs spent many years in pain under the possession of her cruel five-year-old mistress, Emily Flint, and Emily’s father, Dr. Flint. Once able to obtain freedom, Jacobs spent most of her life working for the Anti-Slavery office in New York, in hope that one day she could make a difference in the world. “She sought to win the respect and admiration of her readers for the courage with which she forestalled abuse and for the independence with which she chose a lover rather than having one forced on her” (Jacobs 921). Linda Brett, the pseudonym that Jacobs uses to narrate her life story, endures the harsh behavior women slaves were treated with in the south during the nineteenth century. The dominant theme of the corruptive power and psychological abuse of slavery, along with symbolism of good and evil, is demonstrated throughout her narrative to create a story that exposes the terrible captivity woman slaves suffered. The reality of slavery in the past, versus slavery today is used to reveal how the world has changed and grown in the idea of racism and neglect.
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.
Slavery was a horrible institution that dehumanized a race of people. Female slave bondage was different from that of men. It wasn't less severe, but it was different. The sexual abuse, child bearing, and child care responsibilities affected the females's pattern of resistance and how they conducted their lives. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrates the different role that women slaves had and the struggles that were caused from having to cope with sexual abuse.
Slavery was brutal for both men and women, both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs narratives characterize ways that men and women experienced slavery. The two authors highlight ways slavery was oppressive from two different point of views, one from a woman on a plantation and the other, a man who was mostly a slave in the city. Douglass portrayed how slave women were treated poorly even by his