During the antebellum South, many Africans, who were forced migrants brought to America, were there to work for white-owners of tobacco and cotton plantations, manual labor as America expanded west, and as supplemental support of their owner’s families. Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative supports the definition of slavery (in the South), discrimination (in the North), sexual gender as being influential to a slave’s role, the significant role of family support, and how the gender differences viewed and responded to life circumstances.
She emphasizes that the life of a slave woman is incomparable to the life of a slave man, in the sense that a woman’s sufferings are not only physical but also extremely mental and emotional. Whether or not a slave woman is beaten, starved to death, or made to work in unbearable circumstances on the fields, she suffers from and endures horrible mental torments. Unlike slave men, these women have to deal with sexual harassment from white men, most often their slave owners, as well as the loss of their children in some cases. Men often dwell on their sufferings of bodily pain and physical endurance as slaves, where as women not only deal with that but also the mental and emotional aspect of it. Men claim that their manhood and masculinity are stripped from them, but women deal with their loss of dignity and morality. Females deal with the emotional agony as mothers who lose their children or have to watch them get beaten, as well as being sexually victimized by white men who may or may not be the father of their children. For these women, their experiences seem unimaginable and are just as difficult as any physical punishment, if not more so.
When her father passed away she had nobody to tell her what to do and how to act. This was very devastating and she had a hard time dealing with change. So much so that she wouldn't let the police take the body of her father out of the house for three days after his death. The only thing that was constant in her house was the slave
Slavery has always been the most dreadful phenomena of our world. Slavery, by itself looks so unusual and provokes mixed feelings from the heart of each person. In other words, slavery change a human being into a “thing” or even some type of consumer item. However, a fugitive slave, Frederick Douglass writes the novel called “The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” to reveal how the slavery system works. Douglass’ narrative resembles not so much an autobiography as a memoir. If we read this novel closely, women often appear not in a primary plot, but in a short passage and as a vivid images; specifically, an image of abused bodies. Douglass associates women with suffering. Also, he gives an understanding
The autobiography , Incidents in the Life of a Slave girl, was written by Harriet Ann Jacobs under the pseudonym name Linda Brendt. This book details the life of slavery and how Jacobs’ achieved freedom for her children and for herself. Jacobs’ detailed these painful, and intricate accounts through forty-one chapters. Harriet Jacobs unfortunate experiences as a slave were significantly shaped because of her gender. Jacobs did indeed endure struggles through her race, but her gender is of great significance during her time as a slave. Jacobs used herself as an example to show how enslaved women were manipulated by their masters, the difficulties of being a mother during slavery mother, and how the fight for freedom were all impacted by her gender.
In Shaping of the Modern World, we are learning about political and cultural changes around the world. Slavery is a significant topic in Shaping of the Modern World, how our world change throughout slavery and how slavery changes over time. In the narrative writing, Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, she talks about how her life changed while serving different and new masters and mistresses. I think that this narrative writing is an important text to help us understand the different perspectives of slavery in America. There are some slave owners that are kind and humane, and some slave owners that are cruel and abusive. Additionally, reading from a female slave’s perspectives teaches us that life on the plantations and life in the house is different. Especially as a female, they would get different treatment from their masters and mistresses. The text has changed my understanding of slavery that not all slave owners are harsh, and not all slaves are not intellectual.
The next major topic of discussion in the novel is the nature of female slavery, in which White highlights the labor performed by female slaves and the masters’ expectations for childbearing. She describes how African American women were expected to perform duties of labor “with the strength of any man,” while also
Harriet Jacobs book tells us a lot about gender and race, and the issues faced in the U.S. South during the 19th century. In the lifetime of slaves within the south, daily routines very much banked on the slaves gender. Male slaves were known to work out doors doing more physical labor compared to women who were known to be caretakers and do small petty things. Family life for slaves in the south was not easy due to the fact that they were constantly taken away from each other. Marriages in the South were also difficult for slaves and for slaveholders. In Harriet Jacobs’ book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Jacobs gives clear descriptions of the conceptions of masculinity and femininity between slaves, their family life, and of love/marriage
Enslaved people faced constant uncertainty danger in their life. American law in the early 1800s did not protect enslaved families. At any time, a husband or wife could be sold to a different owner, or a slaveholder’s death could lead to the breakup of an enslaved family. (pg 433) Slave Life was very much different than an ordinary white family, they constantly had to fight for survival each day and had to keep close with their families as much as they could because they never knew when
There are several passages that indicate Salina’s upbringing, and her expectations of a grown woman. Her husband John was surprised that “Salina had been given such romantic notions… her loving parents had kept the facts of life from her,” and when she found out about her husbands infidelities “she threw things at him, called him a beast, cried three days, and even packed to go home” (Walker 10). Salina demonstrates her disbelief of slave breeding with masters by shutting down and punishing the slaves as well as her husband. The white characters in the first half of the novel, like Salina, are given the necessary background in order to be humanized, even to the point where they become relatable so that the audience might feel bad for them at some point. Walker’s depiction of the White characters during slavery is imperative to understanding humanity’s connection to fear. Prior to the Civil War these characters were comfortable, not afraid of much but their own personal issues. Walker indicates this intentionally deep and complex aspect of her characters in the first half of the novel.
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.
In the narrative, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, Harriet Jacobs, a mulatto woman slave who pseudonym as, Linda Brent, details her twenty-seven years of life in transition as a young slave girl, mother of prospective slave children, a slave on the run, an ultimately, a free woman. Linda (Jacobs), born to both the mother, and father of slaves, describes her first six years of life with her parents, and how for those years, although a slave, had no recollection. However, after the passing of Linda’s mother, and father later, she soon realizes that she and younger brother, William would also follow the family indenturement to slavery. For six years, after her mother’s death, Linda and brother, William did not suffer as slaves. In the
She associates her conditions to those of slaves because she realizes that instead of being treated as a free person, who came to America by themselves, she was treated inferior to slaves, she could not complain and work how she wanted to and would love to. She wanted to be free at her work, but she was treated as the slave with any power it was like submission. In her complaint, she realized that slaves were treated better than her, yet she would not accept to be like a slave because she was not. In her opinion, it is unacceptable to her that they beliefs in God and treat people like worse than slaves for something she decided to do, was unbelievable. She also talks about how we proclaim ourselves as a free God-chosen nation, but the women
The notion of slavery, as unpleasant as it is, must nonetheless be examined to understand the hardships that were caused in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. Without a doubt, conditions that the slaves lived under could be easily described as intolerable and inhumane. As painful as the slave's treatment by the masters was, it proved to be more unbearable for the women who were enslaved. Why did the women suffer a grimmer fate as slaves? The answer lies in the readings, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative which both imply that sexual abuse, jealous mistresses', and loss of children caused the female slaves to endure a more dreadful and hard life in captivity.
The first part of the novel focuses extensively on people who were formerly slaves working on plantations owned by Creoles. Conditions in the West Indies at the beginning of the nineteenth century were critical when considering former slaves. These people still encountered difficulty integrating society because the masses were reluctant to accept them as being equal. This meant that former slaves needed to go through great efforts in order to earn a living and needed to employ ignorant attitudes in order to be able to go through the day without feeling miserable as a result of common episodes of discrimination.