Women In Slavery in Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative

919 Words4 Pages
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.…show more content…
Because of such gruesome occurrences as the sexual attacks, it would certainly be safe to assume that the young slave girls were not only physically hurt but also emotionally distraught. They were prone to grow into young women who felt stripped of their dignity and carried the burden of shame. Not only did young women get sexually abused at a young age, but also the abuse continued on as they matured. As the slaves got older they were forced to engage in sexual affairs with their married masters, as is seen in the case of Harriet Jacobs. This naturally caused the slaves to feel shameful, immoral, and wrongful in doing so. However, they did not have much of a choice in the matter. To make matters worse, the mistresses who were jealous that their husbands, the masters, were being unfaithful to them with the slaves. This commonly resulted in persecution of the slaves by the mistresses. Although the mistresses knew that the masters were committing wrongful acts in sexually abusing the slaves, they did not show any compassion. Instead, they were enraged. Harriet Jacobs explains the typical reaction of a mistress as she writes: "The mistress, who ought to protect the helpless victim, has no other feelings towards her but those of jealousy and rage".

More about Women In Slavery in Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative

Open Document