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Analysis Of Harriet Jacobs Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

analytical Essay
1019 words
1019 words
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In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how harriet jacobs incidents in the life of a slave girl explores the struggles and sexual abuse that female slaves faced on plantations as well as their efforts to practice motherhood.
  • Analyzes how the desire for a comfortable and safe home runs throughout the book, reflecting the notion of domesticity that would have been familiar to jacobs’s mostly white female readers in the nineteenth century.
  • Analyzes how linda avoids being a slave by the grace of her own intellect. she does not condemn slaves for illegal or immoral acts such as theft or adultery, but argues that the slave system dehumanizes them.
  • Analyzes how jacobs' work reflects the antebellum era, pre-civil war in america, and the cult of true womanhood.

For this very reason Jacobs uses the pseudonym Linda Brent to narrate her first-person experience, which I intend to use interchangeably throughout the essay, since I am referencing the same person. All throughout the narrative, Jacobs explores the struggles and sexual abuse that female slaves faced on plantations as well as their efforts to practice motherhood and protect their children from the horrors of the slave trade. Jacobs’ literary efforts are addressed to white women in the North who do not fully comprehend the evils of slavery. She makes direct appeals to their humanity to expand their knowledge and influence their thoughts about slavery as an institution, holding strong to the credo that the pen is mightier than the sword and is colorful enough to make a difference and change the the stereotypes of the black and white …show more content…

Despite Flint’s overtures, Linda is able to avoid being by the grace of her own intellect. Although her actions may seem illicit and ill-advised, like her love affair with Mr. Sands to fend off Dr. Flint, so are the repercussions if she cooperates and does nothing. Jacobs predicates that slaves suffer from the influence of the slave system on their moral development. In the text, it is evident that Linda does not condemn slaves for illegal or immoral acts such as theft or adultery, but rather saying that they usually have no other option but to behave this way. However, she also points out that slaves have no reason to develop a strong ethical sense, as they are given no ownership of themselves or final control over their actions. This is not their fault, but the fault of the slavery system that dehumanizes them. “Pity me, and pardon me, O virtuous reader! You never knew what it is to be a slave; to be entirely unprotected by law or custom; to have the laws reduce you to the condition of a chattel, entirely subject to the will of another” (Jacobs 49). Slaves are not evil like their masters, but important parts of their personalities are left undeveloped. She argues that a powerless slave girl cannot be held to the same standards of morality as a free

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