Slave Narratives Were The Dominant Literary Mode

1924 Words May 10th, 2015 8 Pages
Slave narratives were the dominant literary mode in the early African-American literature. Thousands of accounts and writings, some legitimate and some fiction of white abolitionists, were published in the years between 1800 and the Civil War. These documents were written to promote the antislavery cause and to describe in detail how slaves were typically treated in the south. Most slave narratives in this time period attempted to appeal to the emotions of the white readers and often described of the severe whippings and injuries inflicted on black slaves. Like most all slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by slave Harriet Jacob’s, intends to make white Americans aware of the sexual victimization that slave woman faced as well as to share her experience with abuse of slavery, her daily struggles to gain respect, and the details of her escape. Jacob’s story strongly emphasizes the problems faced by female slaves involving sexual abuse and separation of family. Due to the skilled, honest, and complete way she tells her story, it has become one of the most popular and most read slave narratives of all time. This primary source supports many themes from secondary sources pertaining to slavery. Brenda E. Stevenson’s “Slave Marriage and Family Relations” and Nell Painter’s “Soul Murder and Slavery” are two readings which specifically connect to Jacob’s story. Jacob’s supports the interpretations of gender and sexuality themes from these readings in…
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