The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave And Harriet Jacobs 's Incidents

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Throughout the eighteenth century, many fugitive slaves wrote narratives to express their experience as a slave. Fredrick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave and Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl are two famous examples in which the writers demonstrate their perspective as slaves and dangerous, agonizing life. Nevertheless, there are also many dissimilarities between these narratives, including gender based treatments, main character’s first steps towards freedom, and main character’s personality. According to their narratives, Douglass and Jacobs were subjected to diverse treatments in their lives based on their gender. For example, Douglass’s masters whipped, starved, and tortured Douglass. However, unlike Jacobs, he was not exposed to rape. As Douglass describes in his narrative, “by law established, [...] the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their [slaveholders] own lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable” (Gates et al. 338). In other words, Douglass points out that slaveholders rape their female slaves because as stated by the law, if a child has a colored mother, he/she would be a slave. Therefore, the master profits from raping because it increases the number of slaves he owns. Having no help, slave women were sexually assaulted against their wills and had
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