Harriet Jacobs Incidents And A Slave Girl: An Analysis

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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 I believe there were things overshadowing Charles’ attention. While the man does give credit to a supreme being, his relation to the Christian culture comes from his encounters to which he documents in great detail with fellow slaves. As previously stated, I believe the significance of the slave’s ability to maintain reverence for the religion they practiced provided insight into what gave them hope. The story of Exodus is linked to many slave narratives and it was no different for these three Slave-owners looked upon the African Americans as lesser people who were in desperate need of support. They were not capable of surviving on their own without white guidance (Boston). Dr. Flint, the master over the plantation where Harriet Jacobs lived showed a great example of paternalism. He cared for Harriet but in a possessive way to which he continuously sought the woman for his personal needs. For Dr. Flint, the slaves he owned should be grateful towards him and be willing to do what he asked with no rebuttal. This wasn’t the case with Harriet. She simply refused him at every chance which only angered the slaveholder. Jacobs resisted the doctor and his paternalistic ways. Harriet Jacobs sheds light onto the self-interest that drives the paternalism displayed by the masters. The slaves were property and who wanted to showcase poorly groomed property? If there was someone visiting, the slaves, except for those within the house, would be hidden away and those who worked within the master’s home would dawn nicer clothes and better meals would be prepared all in a show for the

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