The Role Of Women In Harriet Jacobs Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl?

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There were many different issues that factored in shaping the lives and experiences of women in the time periods we have discussed. One such factor was Race, which was a very served to draw a divide among the female community. Among the sources we have examined in class, there is no greater source that showcases this divide then Harriet Jacobs biography, Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl. Writing under the name of Linda Brent, Jacobs, among other topics, details the hierarchy that is created between female slaves and their mistresses. This is displayed through the character of Mrs. Flint, who as a white woman is able to hold power and control over her slaves. Mrs. Flint is viewed among her peers as a good wealthy Christian woman, but towards…show more content…
This is shown best in three works we discussed in class. Martha Ballard’s Journal, which detailed her life in colonial Maine, Harriet Jacobs’s book, which detailed women’s lives in the Antebellum South, and the article impendent women in New Mexico. With these three works we get an idea of how geographic location played a role in the experiences that women faced. In Colonial Maine, the climate could be harsh, and nearly impossible for cash crops like Sugar or Cotton to grow. Money had to be earned elsewhere, and as a result women were forced to do some hard work to help support their families. As a mid wife, Martha Ballard writes about having to face the harsh climate and elements, having to canoe through a winter storm to help give birth to a child. The Antebellum South, however, was filled with lush and fertile soil, which allowed for a cash crop system to boom and earn lots of money for lots of people. Because of this, many women in the south never had to work a day in their lives, unlike say the Lowell Mill girls in Massachusetts . Between their husband’s earnings, and their slave’s hard work, there wasn’t much required from an Antebellum woman. This also fits in with the race dynamic, because due to the lack of fertile soil in the north, there wasn’t much if any demand for slaves. Thus, black women in the north had much different experiences the black women in the south. In Southwest, New Mexico, we see a completely different social order, as they are on the outskirts of the United States, and are allowed to have their own system of doing things, away from American influence. Women in New Mexico were treated as equals to men. They were not held to high standards of purity, and thus allowed to, for example, dress more freely due to the weather be so warm. Therefore, due to geographic differences, a southern or New Mexican woman’s experiences do not reflect
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