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Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

Michael May
Dr. Wachter
EN209-012
7 April 2014
Harriet Jacobs: Slave Mom
Growing up in the this country, it was always important to know about the best and worst times that the United States struggled through. Every history class has made it distinctly clear that low point took place during a time of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those constant reminders in classes consisted mostly of different stories of fiction and non-fiction. Each story goes through exceptional experiences and provides a peek into this dark time. After hearing and reading many of these stories it seems as though they all could blend together and it can be hard to tell them apart from one another; that is until Harriet Jacobs joins the mix. Harriet Jacob’s experience growing up as a slave provides a story unlike any other by showing the despair, suffering, and complete agony suffered by women in slavery.
There are numerous male authors of slave narratives that reference the persecution of enslaved African American women by white men, except none had tackled the women’s view as directly as Jacobs chose to. In her memoir, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs recalls her remarkable story of the trials and achievements she endures as well as the harm done to others around her. She takes the reader on a journey inside the life of a woman who was dehumanized from the moment she was born. She not only acknowledges the sexual abuse she suffered, but also explains how she had planned a way to use her sexuality as a means of escaping abuse by her master. Throughout her story, Jacobs’ focus is on the importance of family and motherhood. She details the trauma of being separated from her two children, named Ellen and Benny, during her seven years in h...

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...resents that white abolitionist women were capable of sacrificing their own comfort to help a slave. 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.

Work Cited

Jacobs, Harriet Ann. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.. Ed, L. Maria Child Boston, 1861. Wikisource.
< http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Incidents_in_the_Life_of_a_Slave_Girl>
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