Jacobs portrays slavery in her narrative as an institution that is corrupting society. Throughout Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Jacobs explains how the injustice of slavery between whites and blacks corrupted not only black society but white society as well. Jacobs illustrates how religion practised by white slave owners in the south was often corrupt and did little to alter the effects of slavery on white society. Jacobs also illustrates how slavery, while it did create unbreakable kinship, broke apart the black society. Jacobs’s narrative also makes it very clear that slavery was not in any way a beneficial way of organizing society. Incidents in the Life of a
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
Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Jacobs’s construction of black female empowerment despite the limitations of slavery
Harriet Jacobs, a black woman who escapes slavery, illustrates in her biography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) that death is preferable to life as a slave due to the unbearable degradation of being regarded as property, the inevitable destruction of slave children’s innocence, and the emotional and physical pain inflicted by slave masters. Through numerous rhetorical strategies such as allusion, comparison, tone, irony, and paradoxical expression, she recounts her personal tragedies with brutal honesty. Jacobs’s purpose is to combat the deceptive positive portrayals of slavery spread by southern slave holders through revealing the true magnitude of its horrors. Her intended audience is uninvolved northerners, especially women, and she develops a personal and emotionally charged relationship with them.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”- Nelson Mandela. The quote is describing how freedom is not only being out of chains but to be able to be in society with respect from all. Freedom can also mean a lot of different things depending on the person. For example to a teenager freedom could mean them getting out from under their parents supervision or parental control. But, freedom to an adult that works everyday of the week, their freedom can be, not have to work on the weekends, which gives them their freedom to do anything they want to do. In the slave narrative Incidents of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs about her life as a slave, freedom means Linda (aka Harriet Jacobs) being free from slavery, being away from Dr. Flint, and to have her family free with her. She tries to achieve her freedom in many different ways. She confesses to Mrs. Flint about the advances Dr. Flint makes towards her, she falls in with a free black man, and gets pregnant by Mr. Sands. She uses these to achieve her freedom from Dr. Flint’s advances. She also achieves her freedom by running away to her grandmother’s attic, and running away to the North. Linda also achieves her freedom when Dr. Flint had died and when Mrs. Bruce being her savior.
Slavery was common in the eighteenth century. Slaves were seen as property, as they were taken from their native land and forced into long hours of labor. The experience was traumatic for both black men and black women. They were physically and mentally abused by slave owners, dehumanized by the system, and ultimately denied their fundamental rights to a favorable American life. Although African men and women were both subjected to the same enslavement, men and women had different experiences in slavery based on their gender. A male perspective can be seen in, My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass. A female perspective is shared in Harriet Jacobs’ narrative titled, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Upon reading both of the viewpoints provided, along with outside research, one can infer that women had it worse.
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.
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.
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’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: A Harrowing Escape from Abuse
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.
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.