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

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Slaves are aware of their positions in society and have the choice to comply with their masters’ demands in order to gain a greater benefit to themselves often in the form of physical protection from abuse. Within the plantation hierarchy, the house slave was considered higher up than field slaves due to their close proximity to the master (Hall 566). The house slave’s position in the plantation microcosm evoked not only favor from the master, but jealousy from the field slaves. The fair-skinned, house slave woman and her master’s control over her mental psyche is a defining factor of her identity in relation to the other slaves on the plantation. Linda Brent in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an excellent model of the mental bondage endured by light-skinned house slave women because she makes a conscious choice to continue her mental bondage in order to gain physical freedoms. Although many house slaves, like Linda, were granted physical freedoms, they experienced an unfathomable level of mental bondage that defined their character and prompted them to pick their own place in society. First, the privileges that house slaves received compared to field slaves are due to the complicated familial dynamics…show more content…
Maude is so concerned with the legacy of her life that she poisons her first husband to death, because he was settling for the bare minimum (Jones 184). In her attempt to gain a legacy and essentially a place in society, she lives vicariously through her daughter, Caldonia, and accepts the enslavement of her own race as a means for personal wealth. After the death of Caledonia’s husband, Henry, his entire plantation was left to his wife. She now possessed all of the elements that made a person wealthy in the 19th century: land and
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