"Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women." Why was slavery "far more terrible for women"? In Harriet A. Jacobs’s memoir, she shows people the additional horrors and brutalities that an enslaved men went through, but enslaved women were often used as “breeders”. The enslaved women went through further horrors than men, they had to bore pain and degradation. In fact, women had to carry with the pain of having their children wrenched from them. Women were forced to be “breeders” they were meant to bear children to add to their master’s “stock”, but they were denied the right to care for them. It was not something unusual to happen to these women it was considered normal. The master didn’t believe the female slaves had feelings, or the right to ruin their merchandise. It was also not unusual for the plantation master to satisfy his sexual lust with his female slaves and force them to have his children. Children that were born from these unions were often sold to protect the honor and dignity of the slave owner’s wife, who would be forced to face the undeniable proof of her husband’s lust for “black women.” Young slave girls generally started …show more content…
Harriet Jacobs story clearly shows the pain she suffered as a female slave, but it also showed the strength she proved to have within herself. At such a young age she went through things that I have never experienced. Her way of surviving is what truly inspires. Imagine just having to watch your children grow up before your very eyes and not being able to give them a hug or kiss. The simple things that our parents do today for us, the things we take for granted, are what she hoped and prayed she could do one day. Jacobs died in 1897, but she continued to fight for the rights of African
This day in age, everything is always compared whether it is social status, racial problems, etc. A popular topic tends to be gender equality and different things both male and females endure, such as the fact that it is a lot easier for men to get a high paying job compared to women. Along the same lines, their suffering is also compared. In Harriet Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” Jacob’s shares her experiences as a slave including the most traumatizing moments she went through. Although there is no doubt that every slave suffered greatly, women suffered the most during this time period; women went through sexual exploitation, psychological damage, and shame.
Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative. She was able to draw in the readers by elements of slave culture that helped the slaves endure the hardships like religion and leisure and the middle class ideals of the women being “submissive, past, domestic,
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.
Men and Women’s treatment has been different as long as the two have been around to notice the difference. Even in the realm of slavery women and men were not treated the same although both were treated in horrible ways. Harriet Jacobs and Fredrick Douglass’ story is very similar both were born into slavery and later rose above the oppression to become molders of minds. In time of subjugation to African Americans these two writers rose up and did great things especially with their writing. Both Douglass and Jacobs’ experienced different types of slavery, it shaped their perspective on everything and it also shows the importance of their freedom.
The U.S. slave system has placed African American women at a disadvantage for hundreds of years. It's atrocious to think this kind of thing could ever be allowed to happen. Even worse is to the reality that it wouldn't be that way if people truly believed in equality. Women were owned in every aspect, not merely free labor. Their minds, bodies, and souls were pushed to the limits and Harriet Jacobs is an example of this being true.
A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage. For Harriet, slavery was different than many African Americans. She did not spend her life harvesting cotton on a large plantation. She was not flogged and beaten regularly like many slaves. She was not actively kept from illiteracy. Actually, Harriet always was treated relatively well. She performed most of her work inside and was rarely ever punished, at the request of her licentious master. Furthermore, she was taught to read and sew, and to perform other tasks associated with a ?ladies? work. Outwardly, it appeared that Harriet had it pretty good, in light of what many slaves had succumbed to. However, Ironically Harriet believes these fortunes were actually her curse. The fact that she was well kept and light skinned as well as being attractive lead to her victimization as a sexual object. Consequently, Harriet became a prospective concubine for Dr. Norcom. She points out that life under slavery was as bad as any slave could hope for. Harriet talks about her life as slave by saying, ?You never knew what it is to be a slave; to be entirely unprotected by law or custom; to have the laws reduce you to the condition of chattel, entirely subject to the will of another.? (Jacobs p. 55).
Harriet Jacobs author of “Incidents of a Slave Girl” depicted the life of a women enslaved to white planation owners between the years 1819-1842. Harriet Jacobs escaped for enslavement and went on to become a pivotal figure for the African American culture with tales of cruelty from her owners and her need for freedom. Jacobs penned her story to persuade white people in the North to fight against the maltreatment of African Americans in the South. Jacobs highlighted for abolitionist and non-abolitionist alike the abuse slaves felt for many years and the obstacles they went through to secure their freedom. Harriet Jacobs asserted, “Slavery is bad for men, but it is far more terrible for women.” In contrast to Jacobs, slavery for women did not exceed or fall below that of men. The circumstances in which the different genders were treated did show some variations, however, the effects of slavery affected both men and women equally. Slave men and women all had one common goal and that was to enjoy the freedoms and rights as human beings amongst the Caucasian counterparts. Erik Foner, author of Give me Liberty! An American History, stated, “Black sought to make white Americans understand slavery as a concrete reality—the denial of all the essential elements of freedom—not merely as a metaphor for the loss of political self-determination.” African American fought collectively with both men and women against oppression from Caucasians.
...f Jacobs’s narrative is the sexual exploitation that she, as well as many other slave women, had to endure. Her narrative focuses on the domestic issues that faced African-American women, she even states, “Slavery is bad for men, but it is far more terrible for women”. Therefore, gender separated the two narratives, and gave each a distinct view toward slavery.
Some people could argue that the life of a domestic animal would be better than being a slave or not being alive at all. Suffering countless abomination, including sexual assault, beatings, and murders, these slaves experience much more than we would think is humanly possible today. The impression of slavery, as unpleasant as it is, must nevertheless be examined to understand the destitutions that were caused in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. Without a doubt, conditions that the slaves lived under could be easily described as unbearable and inhumane. As painful as the slave 's treatment by the masters was, it proved to be more intolerable for the women who were enslaved.She says "Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own."(Jacobs 86).Jacobs creates a new type of slave narrative. She emphasizes that whether or not they are beaten, starved, or made to work in the fields, all female slaves suffered from traumas.They were often raped by white men (usually their master) and bore their children. These children were often treated poorly or taken from their mother. Overall, the fact that their bodies were not their own was perhaps the most terrible component of slavery for women-they were looked upon as
In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s
Slavery was a horrible institution that dehumanized a race of people. Female slave bondage was different from that of men. It wasn't less severe, but it was different. The sexual abuse, child bearing, and child care responsibilities affected the females's pattern of resistance and how they conducted their lives. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrates the different role that women slaves had and the struggles that were caused from having to cope with sexual abuse.
Harriet Jacobs and Fredrick Douglass are both very incredible and powerful writers who narrated their enslavement encounters in a passionate and compelling manner. Jacob’s narrative describes the abuses she had to go through personally especially because of her gender. She describes how the women slaves were exploited not only for their productive capabilities but reproductive ones as well. This is why she remarked, “Slavery is terrible for men but is far more terrible for women”. This is a clear indication that in addition to being enslaved, Jacob’s had to overcome the hurdle of being a female as well.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth-century, notions of freedom for Black slaves and White women were distinctively different than they are now. Slavery was a form of exploitation of black slaves, whom through enslavement, lost their humanity and freedom, and were subjected to dehumanizing conditions. African women and men were often mistreated through similar ways, especially when induced to labor, they would eventually become a genderless individual in the sight of the master. Despite being considered “genderless” for labor, female slaves suddenly became women who endured sexual violence. Although a white woman was superior to the slaves, she had little power over the household, and was restricted to perform additional actions without the consent of their husbands. The enslaved women’s notion to conceive freedom was different, yet similar to the way enslaved men and white women conceived freedom. Black women during slavery fought to resist oppression in order to gain their freedom by running away, rebel against the slaveholders, or by slowing down work. Although that didn’t guarantee them absolute freedom from slavery, it helped them preserve the autonomy and a bare minimum of their human rights that otherwise, would’ve been taken away from them. Black
As female slaves such as Harriet Jacob continually were fighting to protect their self respect, and purity. Harriet Jacob in her narrative, the readers get an understanding of she was trying to rebel against her aggressive master, who sexually harassed her at young age. She wasn’t protected by the law, and the slaveholders did as they pleased and were left unpunished. Jacobs knew that the social group,who were“the white women”, would see her not as a virtuous woman but hypersexual. She states “I wanted to keep myself pure, - and I tried hard to preserve my self-respect, but I was struggling alone in the grasp of the demon slavery.” (Harriet 290)The majority of the white women seemed to criticize her, but failed to understand her conditions and she did not have the free will. She simply did not have that freedom of choice. It was the institution of slavery that failed to recognize her and give her the basic freedoms of individual rights and basic protection. Harriet Jacobs was determined to reveal to the white Americans the sexual exploitations that female slaves constantly fa...
Many women are born with a maternal instinct. This instinct surpasses all other emotions. As soon as a child is born she will give her life for that child and devote her life to the safety of her child. Slavery complicates this. Mothers had no control over what happened to their children; they were helpless. Mothers watched their children beaten and raped. They were forced to bear the children of their master. They raised children that were born from that pain and torture and knew that child would have the same life. Slaves wished for what they thought was best for their children: death. It is inconceivable for a modern...