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.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs strongly speaks to its readers by describing the brutalities of slavery and the way slave owners can destroy peaceful lives. After reading and rereading the story have noticed certain things regarding how Jacobs tries to educate her readers and her intended audience which is the women of the North. As if we do not know enough about how terrible slavery is, this story gives detailed examples of the lives of slaves and provokes an incredible amount of emotions. She uses several tactics in her writing to reach her desired audience and does so very well. The way she wrote the story does not seem as though she is emotionally connected.
It was extremely dangerous for abolitionists, especially as women, to help slaves read, write, and become free. Women still fight for equal rights, and blacks still deal with racism on a day-to-day basis. Some say slavery of women still exists, but it is referred to as prostitution. To this day, women are held as sex slaves, maids, and cooks. Human trafficking is still a major issue and generally involves women.
In the case of Harriet Jacobs, it was also important that she make sure the readers understood slavery from a woman's perspective. The hardships she had to endure not only entailed the work and the punishments, but also the sexual aspect of being a slave-girl. Her task is difficult, because in order for the reader to really understand her position as a woman and a slave, she must make the story extremely personal. If it is too personal, however, the reader looses sight of the bigger picture, and does not relate all these hardships to the condition of the general female slave. She accomplishes this in two ways, through her writing style, and the writing content.
11 Jacbo 's narrative uses many examples and showcases many times that slave women have shown that they may have fallen under true womanhood, but yet she tries to instill that even in reading these horrors, even if the reader tried her hardest, she would fail because of the unique issues of being a slave mother. “Reader, my story ends with freedom; not in the usual way with marriage. I and my children are now free!... The dream of my life is not
Feminism and Slavery Harriet Jacobs escaped from slavery and at great personal risk wrote of her trials as a house servant in the South and later fugitive in the North. Her slave narrative entitled Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gave a true account of the evils slavery held for women, a perspective that has been kept relatively secret from the public. In writing her story, Jacobs, though focused on the subjugation due to race, gave voice subtly to a different kind of captivity, that which men impose on women regardless of color in the patriarchal society of the ninetenth century. This form of bondage is not only exacted from women by their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons, but also is accepted and perpetuated by women themselves, who forge the cage that holds them captive. Jacobs directed her stirring 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.
As well as how this contradicted with slavery and thus preventing women from fulfilling exactly these roles. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl highlight these double standards that are put upon white women and black women. White women versus black women is a major theme throughout the book with Harriet Jacobs in the centre. Another important theme in the book is virtue and Jacobs uses herself to describe how hard it was for a black female slave to maintain this. Circumstances prevented her to keep her much cherished virtue and caused a conflict within herself.
The story of Harriet Jacobs paints a broad picture of life as a woman, victim of abuse, and Black American in the south during the early to mid Nineteenth century. However, in the story, each of these identities are put through the lens of her being a slave, an experience and identity that colors and dominates each other one. Harriet Jacobs may not have significantly impacted the world, the nation, or even her state during her time as a slave, but by looking at her experiences through her eyes, the reader gains an empathetic understanding of many things they may not have, and may never truly experience. As a woman in the south, Jacobs had a first hand look at the injustices applied to her gender in her lifetime; her perspective grants a look
It was a way recreating yourself and having control over your own story even if not everything from your life is included. Jacobs was able to create a ‘self’ that had otherwise been controlled by others. Jacobs’s story along with Stowe’s emphasizes the distinctive problems faced by female slaves, particularly sexual abuse and the suffering of slave mothers who are separated from their children. In spite of her suffering and possible criticism from the public, Jacobs was determined to make white Americans aware of the sexual victimization that slave women frequently faced and to stress the fact that they often had no choice but to give up their “virtue.”
She however boldly states, "[I] earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them far worse. I want to add my testimony to that of abler pens to convince the people of the Free States what Slavery really is. "(preface 1) Harriet Jacobs wanted to show the people who were not experiencing slavery exactly was going on in hopes that it would influence them to bring a stop to it. Though you cannot help but pity Harriet Jacobs, you can also take her story and the hard ships she endured and realize how strong a woman she truly was. Harriet was born into slavery.