Harriet Jacobs Racial and Gender Oppression
Harriet Jacobs was a little girl growing up during the time of slavery. She didn’t know how or why she had been put in these circumstances but she manage to become a successful woman later in life. These were hard times for African Americans, and to be a female just added to the challenges that they had to endure. Jacobs was exposed to discrimination in numerous fronts including race, gender, and intelligence. She later puts out an autobiography that explains the struggles and sacrifices encountered along the way throughout her rough journey. The story really helps the reader understand just how tough these times really were for Jacobs and her family and how she overcame them.
During this time gender roles were clear, men were the providers for the family while the women oversaw house hold chores such as cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. If you were fortunate enough to own slaves, then slaves acted as your servants and took care of everything. In the autobiography, “Incidents in the life of a young slave girl” Jacobs opens with, I was born as slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away (Levine 910). When her mother had passed away, her childhood was over and she encountered what slavery would be like for the rest of her life. She never knew her father, but was led to believe that herself and all the young slaves shared the same father, which was their master. Jacobs goes on
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
“Incidents in the Life of a Slave” by Harriet Jacobs is an autobiographical narrative. It gives us a look inside in how the lives of slave women were, the troubles they faced and how they met them, especially the sexual abuses they suffered by their masters. She tells us how her master had the “right” to impregnate the slave and then that child would have to follow in its mother’s life as a slave. It took a lot of courage to stand
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.
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 Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs argues that her master had an undesirable obsession for her. An obsession she did not want, but could not escape. When Jacobs turned fifteen, life changed drastically; she had gained an unwanted eye of her master. Though her master was afraid to have his inappropriate behaviors and impure thoughts gossiped through town or reported to her grandmother, “he was a crafty man, and resorted to many means to accomplish his purpose” (Jacobs, 52). Despite the fact that Jacobs feared for herself, she felt as if she could not escape her unwanted fate. “My master met me at every turn, reminding me that I belonged to him, and swearing by heaven and earth the he would compel me to submit to him” (Jacobs, 53). Due to his undying
Harriet Ann Jacobs helped start a movement of anti-slavery writing that, through literature, would eventually help change society’s view of slavery. Jacobs’ “Incidents” was written for an audience of free white women and its purpose was to involve these women in political action against the institution of chattel slavery and the ideology of white racism” confirming herself as an anti-slavery writer using a fictional character and different voice to tell truth (Yellin
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.
Harriet Jacobs is a very tough girl that has put up with a lot of slavery and bad treatments in her life such as being horribly punished for her actions. I have
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.
Harriet Jacob was the first African American women to have authored a slave narrative in the United States and was instinctive into slavery in Edenton, North Carolina. Living a good life with her skilled carpentered father and her mother, Jacob didn’t much of being a slave. However, when her mother had passed away, Jacob and her father were reassigned to a different slave owner were her life as a women slave began. Because of this change, she fled to New York where she started working in the Anti-Slavery movement. During this period, she focused more on her family then she did the issue of slavery. Family is an emotional anchor in the Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl because Linda was devoted to her children. She uses symbolism, imagery, and allegory because she wants to demonstrate what families should be like.
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.
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
Jacobs autobiography which is known by the name of ‘Incidents in a Life of a Slave Girl’ gave a true account of the treatment that black women faced during that time and also throwing some light on a perception which has been kept in shadows from the society. While writing the story of her life, Jacobs though focused on her defeat due to obstacles like race and gender, gave voice to something which was hidden from society regardless of the presence of patriarchal society of the nineteenth century.