In her story Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs presents what life was like living as a female slave during the 19th century. Born into slavery, she exhibits, to people living in the North who thought slaves were treated fairly and well, how living as a slave, especially as a female slave during that time, was a heinous and horrible experience. Perhaps even harder than it was if one had been a male slave, as female slaves had to deal with issues, such as unwanted sexual attention, sexual victimization and for some the suffering of being separated from their children. Harriet Jacobs shows that despite all of the hardship that she struggled with, having a cause to fight for, that is trying to get your children a better life
Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage.
Slavery is a term that can create a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. During the hardships faced by the African Americans, hundreds of accounts were documented. Harriet Jacobs, Charles Ball and Kate Drumgoold each shared their perspectives of being caught up in the world of slavery. There were reoccurring themes throughout the books as well as varying angles that each author either left out or never experienced. Taking two women’s views as well as a man’s, we can begin to delve deeper into what their everyday lives would have been like. Charles Ball’s Fifty Years in Chains and Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were both published in the early 1860’s while Kate Drumgoold’s A Slave Girl’s Story came almost forty years later
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
Slavery and the Life of Harriet Jacobs
It is well known that slavery was a horrible event in the history of the United States. However, what isn't as well known is the actual severity of slavery. The experiences of slave women presented by Angela Davis and the theories of black women presented by Patricia Hill Collins are evident in the life of Harriet Jacobs and show the severity of slavery for black women.
The history of slave women offered by Davis suggests that "compulsory labor overshadowed every other aspect of women's existence" (Davis 5).
As the United States grew, the institution of slavery became a way of life in the southern states, while northern states began to abolish it. While the majority of free blacks lived in poverty, some were able to establish successful businesses that helped the Black community. Racial discrimination often meant that Blacks were not welcome or would be mistreated in White businesses and other establishments. A comparison of the narratives of Douglass and Jacobs demonstrates the full range of demands and situations that slaves experienced, and the mistreatment that they experienced as well. Jacobs experienced the ongoing sexual harassment from James Norcom, just like numerous slave women experienced sexual abuse or harassment during the slave era. Another issue that faced blacks was the incompetence of the white slave owners and people. In ...
Harriet Jacobs was a slave, and had been since the day she was born in 1813. However, she realized her enslavement when her mother died when Jacob was only six years old. She went through many hardships during her time as a slave. One being owned by Dr. Flint. This situation then led her to have kids with Mr. Sands, in which changed everything. She became determined to fight and do whatever possible for her and her children’s freedom.
The greatest distress to a slave mother was realizing that her children would inevitably inherit her status as a slave. Jacobs writes of a mother who responded to the death of her infant by thanking "God for taking her away from the greatest bitterness of life (Jacobs 16). Furthermore, when Dr. Flint, her master, hurled her son Benjamin across a room Harriet experienced a fleeting moment of panic, believing that he could potentially dead; however, when she confirms that he is alive she could not determine whether she was happy that he son survived. Harriet experienced inadequacy and doubted her femininity in times that she could not protect her children from the harsh realities of the world in which they were born.
The quest for freedom is a reoccurring theme throughout the lives of Harriet Jacobs and Anne Moody in their respective biographies Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Coming of Age in Mississippi. Both narrators’ families are trapped: Jacobs and her children by dehumanizing bonds of slavery and Anne and her family by institutional poverty in the rural South. The roles these women take on to free themselves from these burdens define their notions of freedom, as well as their later activism. Harriet Jacobs’ and Anne Moody’s respective desires to be maternal and fiscal protectors of their families defines their notion is freedom, which in turn effects their beliefs and actions in their respective reform movements.
In the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, who, for her safety, called herself Linda Brent in the book. Harriet begins by talking about her childhood. She doesn’t know she is a slave until after her mother dies at the age of six. Her earliest years were not very pleasant, but she is soon given to the daughter of Dr. Flint and his wife Mrs. Flint. Dr. Flint was wealthy and cruel, and Harriet and her brother William found only in the kindness of their elderly grandmother Aunt Marthy. This grandmother was highly favorited in the south where the story take place, and another elderly woman purchased her freedom for her when Harriet was still a kid. Harriet talks about the horrors of slavery, dwelling on the theme of mothers being divided from their children and any sense of individuality or humanity in a slave being routed out by avaricious slaveholders. Her uncle Benjamin refuses to stand for the cruel treatment he receives, and eventually runs away to the north. Harriet 's grandmother helps free