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.
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.
Her love and commitment to protecting her children is so deep that she, unwilling to surrender them to the physical, sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse of slavery, attempts to murder them. This single act haunts Sethe (literally and figuratively) for the rest of her life. Baby Suggs, Sethe’s ‘mother-in-law’, a spiritual woman who preaches to the black community is likewise affected by Sethe’s actions. Sethe and Baby Suggs are both mothers and former slaves. Both women have been negatively affected by the experiences of slavery.
It mostly concentrates on the emotional viewpoints on it and what it did to shape who she is. When writing her story, Jacobs had a clear motive. Her motive was one of a political taking. She writes through her experiences and sufferings to make it clear to people, mainly the Northerners, and more specifically white women in the North, how slavery really is. She does not want sympathy, however, she does want "to arouse the women in the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women of the South, still in bondage" (460).
Fighting for life and going through life isn’t the same, but for these two slaves they don’t have a choice but to do both. In Edenton, North Carolina Harriet grew into slavery in 1813, the book “Incidents in the life of a slave girl,” was written by her to show what she lived. Linda had the life many slaves wanted, she could read and get in touch with her grandmother. Although her parents died at least she knew who and how they were. According to Harriet her father was a hard workingman that she admired, considering her first sentences were about him.
Jacob 's is using her to prove that the stereo type of slave women is false, as well as calling out other issues. Despite Aunt Martha 's life as a pious and good woman during slavery and after she 's freed, her daughter passes away. Linda commented "But her dark life had become still darker..."5 This narrative follows the story of Linda, but Aunt Martha is one of the strongest examples of a women who follow true womanhood in this story. She is showing to
However, identical to Linda’s grandmother, her children served as a disincentive from securing her own immunity from slavery for years. When Linda’s daughter, Ellen was born, that was the stage in Linda’s life that she committed herself to gaining freedom, not only for herself, but also Benny and Ellen. Linda states, “When they told me my new-born babe was a girl, my heart was heavier than it had ever been before. Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”(pg 66) This instance, carries two perks, although it is a burden for Linda to have birthed children as a slave. The first of the two perks represents itself in the moment where Linda comprehends the possible outcomes for her newly born daughter.
These experiences that Harriet Jacobs puts into words intrigues her readers, and allows her to show the many different themes her work holds. Family and community serve a great purpose in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Slavery dehumanized people, and made human beings look upon slaves as less then human. Slavery wanted its slaves to become nameless items, instead of living breathing human beings. Most slaves fell into anger, depression, and lifelessness many were able to not only survive, but thrive due to their family.
It is the message Jacobs hopes to burn deep into the intended readers mind. 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.
Jacobs showed how during a time that should be filled with celebration, was rather filled with the ripping apart of families for slaves. Jacobs used this tactic to force Northern women to sympathize with the life a slave must endure and make Northern women contemplate how they would feel if the roles were reversed. Using her various tactics, Jacobs’s narrative was very effective in gaining attention from Northern women. By acknowledging some humane slaveholders, sharing the shocking abuse slaves endured, and comparing New Year’s Day for slaves as opposed to whites, Jacobs’s narrative informed many Northern women of the horrific conditions in the South. As a result, her narrative provoked many Northern women to aid in the fight against slavery.