Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl The feminist movement sought to gain rights for women. Many feminist during the early nineteenth century fought for the abolition of slavery around the world. The slave narrative became a powerful feminist tool in the nineteenth century. Black and white women are fictionalized and objectified in the slave narrative. White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and chaste while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, brought the sexual oppression of captive black women into the public and political arena. Harriet Jacobs takes a great risk writing her trials as a house servant in the south and a fugitive in the north. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gives a true account of the brutality slavery held for women. A perspective that was relatively secretive during Jacobs’ time. Jacobs’ narrative focuses on subjugation due to race but it also portrays many women an strong and often open roles. Women in these roles were minimal and often suffered for their outspoken roles. Harriet Jacobs’ narrative is a powerful statement unveiling the impossibility and undesirability of achieving the ideal put forth by men and maintained by women. Jacobs directs her account of the afflictions a woman is subjected to in the chain of slavery to women of the north to gain sympathy for their sisters that were enslaved in the south. In showing this, Jacobs reveals the danger of such self disapprobation women maintained by accepting the idealized role that men have set a goal for which to strive. She suggests that slave women be judged by different standards than those applied to other women. Jacobs develops a moral code that apprises the specific social and historical position of captive black women. Jacobs’ will power and strength shown in her narrative are characteristics of womanly behavior being developed by the emerging feminist movement. In struggling against the brutal dynamics of a system that simultaneously set before her ideals of a true woman, but refused to acknowledge her as a human being, Jacobs emerges scarred but victorious. Her rational powers and will to action facilitate her efforts to find strategies for dealing with sexual harassment from her master, for maintaining family unity, and in estab... ... middle of paper ... ...denying society’s firm position for women by refusing to be owned, refusing to submit , and refusing to be bought out of her captivity. Linda rejects the notion of true womanhood that has been passes on for centuries and takes control of her future and her children’s future. Linda gains her peace by escaping to the north. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is one of the few narratives depicting the degradation’s endured by female slaves at the hand of brutal masters. Jacobs’ narrative is sending a message to women to come together and end the unfair treatment all women are subjected to. By bringing images of slavery and the message of unity of women to the forefront, Jacobs is attempting to end the tyranny over women perpetrated by men and the tyranny over blacks perpetrated by whites. Integrity and agency are ideals that Americans have fought for over the years. Jacobs reshapes these ideas and makes decisions and takes full reposibilities for her actions to become the ideal and representative image of womanhood. Work Cited: Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company
Many times readers lose interest in stories that they feel are not authentic. In addition, readers feel that fictitious novels and stories are for children and lack depth. Tim O’ Brien maintains that keeping readers of fiction entertained is a most daunting task, “The problem with unsuccessful stories is usually simple: they are boring, a consequence of the failure of imagination- to vividly imagine and to vividly render extraordinary human events, or sequences of events, is the hard-lifting, heavy-duty, day-by-day, unending labor of a fiction writer” (Tim O’ Brien 623). Tim O’ Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story” examines the correlation between the real experiences of war and the art of storytelling. In O’Brien’s attempt to bridge the gap between fiction and non-fiction the narrator of the story uses language and acts of violence that may be offensive to some. However some readers agree that Tim O" Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story" would lack authenticity and power without the use of crude language and violence.
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
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.
Bonn, Maria S. "Can Stories Save Us? Tim O'Brien and the efficacy of the text (The Vietnam War)." CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 36.1 (Fall 1994); 2-16.
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
...f Jacobs’s narrative is the sexual exploitation that she, as well as many other slave women, had to endure. Her narrative focuses on the domestic issues that faced African-American women, she even states, “Slavery is bad for men, but it is far more terrible for women”. Therefore, gender separated the two narratives, and gave each a distinct view toward slavery.
Like most slave narratives, the reader feels a form of guilt and sympathy for the protagonist, but for Harriet Jacobs there is much more to be felt. Freedom is arguably life’s greatest gifts and it being taken away can sometimes be a fate worse than death. In Harriet Jacob’s narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she tells a story of the painful truths that plagued slave women in the nineteenth century. It is a story that deserves to be read long after this period of time.
The latter work exposed what is was like to be a “slave girl.” Before this work came out no one really knew how these women were treated. The author, Harriet Ann Jacobs, pointed out that thes...
O’Brien is reiterating the point that he is trying to make in the novel. In order to feel what he feels he needs to lie in a ‘Story-Truth’ to the reader to bring it all alive. What can be taken away is that in order to get a legitimate war story, there needs to be some sort of ‘Story-Truth’. The ‘Happening-Truth’ is usually saved for the end.
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
The narration of real events blended with fictional additions, and vice versa, is inconsequential compared to how the moral of each story resonates with the reader. Plots and ideas get made up in order to “get at the real truth” (O’Brien 81). The ““story-truth” has little to do with the reality of war. Instead, the onus is on the reader to determine the value of the work in her own life, to make sense of the connections arising from intense conflict” (Smith 116). The stories become true depending on the varying emotional response of the reader, coming alive under the canopy of personal experience and individual reaction. It is dependent on the reader to tease out the moral of each vignette, “like the thread that makes the cloth, […] unraveling the deeper meaning” (O’Brien 74). A true war story, like those within The Things They Carried, cannot be taken at face value. They are far more profound than just being about war. “It’s about love and memory. It’s about sorrow” (O’Brien 81). A true war story is not true at all, unless, the reader is able to identify the different personal, emotional truths within them; the truth is fictionalized so that it can be accessible to vaster audience of readers, so that it could mean
Sometimes a person needs to make up their own truth to survive a crisis situation, so long as the person does not reject other philosophies as Grendel does. This is often the case in war, when a person must distance themselves from the violence, the cruelty, the sheer disgust of the fighting. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien writes that he tells war stories that are not “happening truth,” but rather a “story truth” that feels more genuine. In other words, often the depiction of a single, real event cannot convey everything that a person feels. According to O’Brien, a story can reveal much more by emphasizing or recreating everything that conveys the essence of the truth into a
Several stories into the novel, in the section, “How to tell a true war story”, O’Brien begins to warn readers of the lies and exaggerations that may occur when veterans tell war stories.
numerous types of themes. Much of the work concentrates on the underlining ideas beneath the stories. In the narratives, fugitives and ex-slaves appealed to the humanity they shared with their readers during these times, men being lynched and marked all over and women being the subject of grueling rapes. "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas" and "Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" themes come from the existence of the slaves morality that they are forced compromise to live. Both narrators show slave narratives in the point of view of both "men and women slaves that had to deal with physical, mental, and moral abuse during the times of slavery." (Lee 44)