An Analysis Of Harriet Jacobs

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Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is a perfect sentimental narrative. Sentimental lecture became popular with women in the 1850s. Sentimental themes shown in Jacobs’s work include the sacred bonds, separation, love, death, heartbreak, sacrifice, and emotional feelings and sympathy throughout the narrative. According to Nina Baym, in Harriet Jacobs autobiographical work, Jacobs sought to “capture the attention of Northern white women… to show them how slavery debased and demoralized women…[and] to create sympathy for her plight; she sought to win the respect and admiration of her readers for the courage with which she forestalled abuse and for the independence for which she chose a lover rather than having one forced on…show more content…
Jacobs is terrified that she will be returned to the South due to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. According to the Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History, “leaders of southern states were angered by northern states’ lack of cooperation in capturing escaped slaves and by the growth of the Underground Railroad… [This] resulted in the Fugitive slave Act of 1850” (Arnesen). The act created fear for slaves due to the increase in captures of slaves being returned to the South. While Jacobs is still in hiding her grandmother wrote her a note stating that Dr. Flint had died. Jacobs feels no sympathy for the man and is quickly reminded that, “I never should be free so long as a child of his survives” (937). Now living in fear, for herself and her children, Jacobs new owners Mr. and Mrs. Dodge are in search of them. Her new owners could not afford to lose a valuable slave. Jacobs confides in her friend, Mrs. Bruce, that she has been “chased during half [her] life and it seemed as if the chase was never to end” (939). Jacobs is aware that her new owners only want to sale Jacobs and the children for money. Her son is away while her daughter is on vacation of her house. Jacobs realizes the fear that her masters might find her daughter and her away. Jacobs writes, “I thought of what I had suffered in slavery at her age, and my heart was like a tiger’s when a hunter tries to seize her young” (939). This quote shows the true devotion of a mother and her children. Jacobs is willing to do anything possible to not have her children taken away from her. Seeing Jacobs’s sacrifices and struggles Mrs. Bruce offers to buy her and her children. Jacobs writes, “the more my mind had become enlightened, the more difficult it was for me to consider myself an article of property; and to pay money to those who had so grievously oppressed me seemed like taking from my sufferings
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