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. In showing this, Jacobs reveals the danger of such self disapprobation women maintained by accepting the idealized role that men have set a goal for which to strive. She suggests that slave women be judged by different standards than those applied to other women. Jacobs develops a moral code that apprises the specific social and historical position of captive black women. Jacobs’ will power and strength shown in her narrative are characteristics of womanly behavior being developed by the emerging feminist movement.
Additionally,women in the slave communities acted like teachers to pass down stories, traditions and resistance of slavery to the younger generations. Black women had a lot to deal with: forced sexual encounters with the master, taking care of their children, working and looking after and being the strength of the slave communities. The life of enslaved Black women was brutalized, dehumanizing and sexually exploited, but they found strength through outside influences, one being resistance networks. Dehumanizing means to take away positive human qualities, and that is what happened to slaves. Slaves were looked down upon as though they were gum on the bottom of a shoe.
Slave women’s subjugation under the institutions of slavery and patriarchy uniquely positions them to experience sexual exploitation from their masters and encounter difficulties in fulfilling their role as mothers. Dorothy Roberts alludes to Harriet Jacobs’ The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (2001) in her Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (1998) to point out how slave women – simultaneously slave chattel and patriarchal property – experienced especially terrible oppressions. Although Jacobs’ intersectional consciousness precedes Kimberlé Crenshaw, Roberts alludes to Jacobs, suggesting the role of intersectionality in the lives of slave women, particularly the aspects of their lives concerning reproductive
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... ... middle of paper ... ...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.
Ar’n’t I A Woman? Ar’n’t I a Woman? Written by, Deborah Gray White shows the trials and hardships that African American Women faced during the years of the infamous plantations up to the civil war. In this book White describes how the images of “Jezebel” and the “Mammy” and how they were the most vulnerable group with the least amount of formal power in Antebellum America. She compares the life of men and women in the slave society, and how truly different they were.
Modern day thought typically views slavery from one perspective that of the physically abused male slave, beaten and battered by his aggressive slave master. In Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs brings light to the other side of the horrors of slavery, the psychological abuses, in particular the psychological abuses that women in slavery face. Comparatively, Marie Jenkins Schwartz’s Birthing a Slave does depict the horrors of slavery from the perspective of women and the horrors of the abused child bearing mothers. Although some may believe that in Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Jacobs fails to get at the true horrors of the physical brutality of slavery as presented in Marie Jenkins Schwartz’s Birthing a Slave, in reality Harriet Jacobs autobiography and Marie Jenkins Schwartz’s Birthing a Slave both depict severe horrors of slavery but from the perspective of mental and psychological anguish. During the era of Jacob’s life, women are seen as moral superior beings, being deemed pure, pious, and caring and representing a God like figure.
When somebody reflects the hardships of slavery, they typically think solely of the treatment towards African Americans. What most people are not aware of is how women were treated, whether they were of color or not. In Harriet Jacobs book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she explains “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.” The cruel treatment towards female slaves and the struggles held by Southern women during the Civil war are disregarded by the majority of people today, even though it is a significant part of American history and still affects society. Slaveholders would often rape and impregnate their slave women, and then never let the women care for their mixed children.
The theme of mother hood is present throughout the novel. Morrison portrays the struggles black slave women faced as mothers within the institution of slavery. The positive qualities of motherhood are constantly tested against the cruelty of slavery within the novel. Morrison reflects the nature of slavery through the idea of slavery taking away the maternal rights of slave women. This evident in the subside story of Baby Suggs and her unclear memory of her own children.
A child slave is already denied his freedom and childhood in the sole fact that he is a slave. However, female child slaves had to endure yet another hardship that made life that much more difficult. Young African girls that were enslaved were sexually abused from an early age. Olaudah Equiano, in Interesting Narrative, tells of misfortunes that the female slaves met with at the hands of white men that he witnessed aboard a ship that belonged to his master, he writes: "I have even known them gratify their brutal passion with females not ten years old" (p. 483) Equia... ... middle of paper ... ...re taken advantage of, put down, and stripped of their dignity after they were victimized and sexually abused. Jealous and enraged mistresses, who were dismayed at the fact that their husbands were living a life of infidelity, mistreated them.
The Celia personal story illustrated how slave women was treated by their slave owners and how the laws wasn’t effective at protecting slave during the 1850s. Celia’s story help shed light on woman injustices, unconstitutional rights and most importantly racial issues/discrimination. The relationships between slaves and their owners affected more women slaves than men slaves, mainly because women was generally perceived to be weaker than men during this time period. Many women slaves during this time were used for the sexual purposes by their master only. This was shown in the story when Robert Newsom purchased Celia during the 1850s, at a very young age, of fourteen.