Another difficulty which black women had to handle was the fact that their masters would try to engage in sexual activities. Many masters would try to make sexual advances towards their women slaves and the women could not rebel. For example, in Harriet Jacobs’ slave narrative, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, Harriet’s master tried to make sexual progress towards her. However, to avoid this, she decided to stay with someone she was more comfortable with. He was another slave master, but she used him to stay away from her own.
By this time her father had died as well this caused Jacob’s to rebel against God because he had taken away her mother, father mistress, and friend. But her grandmother was always there to comfort her as best as she can. Not only was she sad but she became miserable to the treatment slaves suffered on her new plantation. Little attention was paid to slave’s meal, also if the meals were not served at an exact time on a particular Sunday she would wait till it was served and spit in the kittle pans, and the slaves could get nothing more except what she choose to give them, these were the ways of her Mrs. Flint. As for Dr. Flint he made his cook tremble because if the food was not to his liking he would have her whipped or make her eat it by cramming it down her throat till she choked.
Slave owners sexually wanting a scandalous relationship was seen greatly throughout this time period. Many slaves did not want to participate in such affairs. A great deal of the women may have had children or even had been married. In this situation is where you could see a direct resistance to this behavior. The slave women, many times have been raped by their owners and no longer wanted to continue living under such disrespect.
Throughout the novel, Mrs. Flint threatens Linda, along with denying her bastard children. Mrs. Flint does not approve of how Dr. Flint tells others that the children are his daughters. In the novel, particular people and laws get in the way of the slaves uniting together. The institutional forces are getting in the way of the slave solidarity. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the slave law states that the children follow the condition of the mother.
The theme of mother hood is present throughout the novel. Morrison portrays the struggles black slave women faced as mothers within the institution of slavery. The positive qualities of motherhood are constantly tested against the cruelty of slavery within the novel. Morrison reflects the nature of slavery through the idea of slavery taking away the maternal rights of slave women. This evident in the subside story of Baby Suggs and her unclear memory of her own children.
She hoped that this free man could get her freedom. The only way this could happen was to be put on the market for sale. Mr. Flint denied her this, using the excuse that she was the property of her daughter and he could not sale her. After having to give up on her first love, Linda’s only hope for escape was Mr. Sands; her white lover and father of her two children. The life of a slave was tedious and full of pain, many of them hoped for death to come and take them away.
While it may have seemed to be detrimental to the blacks only, Jacobs asserts that slavery ruins the lives of many in the immediate environment including the slaves, the slave owners, their wives and their children. This was despite the wives of the slave owners releasing their infuriation on the women slaves (Jacobs, p. 49). To avoid marriage breaks due to the women slaves doubling as sex partners for the slave owners, the white women had no choice but hearken the pleas by Jacobs and join the slave abolitionist
Linda struggles against Flint's overtures for several years. He pressures and threatens her, and she defies and outwits him. Knowing that Flint will eventually get his way, Linda consents to a love affair with a white neighbor, Mr. Sands, saying that she is ashamed of this illicit relationship but finds it preferable to being raped by the loathsome Dr. Flint. With Mr. Sands, she has two children, Benny and Ellen. Linda argues that a powerless slave girl cannot be held to the same standards of morality as a free woman.
Dr. Flint, the father, soon begins pressuring Linda to have a sexual relationship with him. Linda refuses to give into his pressure and struggles for years. She thinks of a plan that is not pleasant but better than the option of being raped by Dr. Flint. Linda claims that a powerless slave girl cannot be held to the same standards of morality as a free woman. Knowing that Flint will eventually get his way, Linda agrees to a love affair with a white neighbor, Mr. Sands.
This can be seen in the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, where we see that Linda’s mother’s mistress treated Linda well and taught her how to read. However, in most cases husbands will realize this and prohibit their wife from educating slaves. This concept is easily observed in The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, where we see that Hugh Auld’s wife, Sophia, starts to teach Frederick how to read. When Hugh discovers this, he forces her to stop this; as he thinks that educating slaves will make them more difficult to