preview

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs

Good Essays
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. Perhaps she was desensitized to such topics due to her own personal experiences and by writing about it causes her to painfully reminisce. It is almost as if she is an omniscient character narrating her life experiences as a slave. When she directly speaks to the reader it is often to state something that others might not know or fully understand. In directing her writing to the women of the North, Jacobs uses examples that can put the reader in her shoes, making them actually see what was occurring in the South.

After the first year of her newly discovered slave life with the Flint family, one of her friends passed away. “I heard her mother sob, as the clods fell on the coffin of her only child, and I turned away from the grave, feeling thankful that I still had something left to love.” (Jacobs 358). This quote speaks to women because everyone knows that losing a daughter, especially an only child, is the worst possible thing a mother could bear. The way she says it in the story almost sounds as if things like this were a common occu...

... middle of paper ...

...as taken up. The man of the north felt sympathy for Ben especially knowing about his past as opposed to a southerner who would have recaptured the fleeing slave leaving punishment ahead of him only known by God.

Harriet Jacobs used unique and unusual tactics while writing the novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. These tactics were intended to reach out to the women of the North. First, she writes about the hardships of slave life such as losing people close to you. Then, she provides examples of how the women and men of the south differ from those who were born and raised in the North Through out the novel, she continuously states the hardships mothers have to face, which women anywhere can relate to. Finally, her emotionally detached tone causes the readers to really understand that she is writing to make a point rather than to look for sympathy.
Get Access