Slavery In The Souls Of Black Folk By Harriet Jacobs

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Analyzing the narrative of Harriet Jacobs through the lens of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du bois provides an insight into two periods of 19th century American history--the peak of slavery in the South and Reconstruction--and how the former influenced the attitudes present in the latter. The Reconstruction period features Negro men and women desperately trying to distance themselves from a past of brutal hardships that tainted their souls and livelihoods. W.E.B. Du bois addresses the black man 's hesitating, powerless, and self-deprecating nature and the narrative of Harriet Jacobs demonstrates that the institution of slavery was instrumental in fostering this attitude. The text of Jacobs and Du bois reveal that both figures experienced…show more content…
The greatest distress to a slave mother was realizing that her children would inevitably inherit her status as a slave. Jacobs writes of a mother who responded to the death of her infant by thanking "God for taking her away from the greatest bitterness of life (Jacobs 16). Furthermore, when Dr. Flint, her master, hurled her son Benjamin across a room Harriet experienced a fleeting moment of panic, believing that he could potentially dead; however, when she confirms that he is alive she could not determine whether she was happy that he son survived. Harriet experienced inadequacy and doubted her femininity in times that she could not protect her children from the harsh realities of the world in which they were born.
Analyzing the narrative of Harriet Jacobs in the context of the writings of W.E.B. Du bois serves to demonstrate how slavery prompted the weary and self-denigrating attitudes of Negro Americans during the subsequent Reconstruction period. However, it is important to note that Harriet Jacobs does not embody the concept of double-consciousness because slavery effectively stripped away her sexuality and femininity, therefore reducing her to one identity--that of a

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