In “The Trial of Girlhood” and “A Perilous Passage In the Slave Girl’s Life” Jacobs’s narrative emphasizes the problems that are faced by female slaves. She shares the sexual abuses that are commonly practiced by slave master against young female slaves. She does this through revealing the unique humiliation and the brutalities that were inflicted upon young slave girls. In this narrative we come to understand the psychological damage caused by sexual harassment. We also realize how this sexual harassment done by the slaveholders went against morality and “violated the most sacred commandment of nature,”(Harriet 289)as well as fundamental religious beliefs. 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... ... middle of paper ... ...o avoid disbelief from her audience. She was the first woman who dared to tell her experience of enslavement and how she was sexuallyabused. In conclusion, women were considered property and slave holders treated them as they pleased. We come to understand that there was no law that gave protection to female slaves. Harriet Jacob’s narrative shows the true face of how slaveholders treated young female slave. The female slaves were sexually exploited which damaged them physically and psychologically. Furthermore it details how the slave holder violated the most sacred commandment of nature by corrupting the self respect and virtue of the female slave. Harriet Jacob writes this narrative not to ask for pity or to be sympathized but rather to show the white people to be aware of how female slaves constantly faced sexual exploitation which damaged their body and soul.
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 is a term that can create a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. During the hardships faced by the African Americans, hundreds of accounts were documented. Harriet Jacobs, Charles Ball and Kate Drumgoold each shared their perspectives of being caught up in the world of slavery. There were reoccurring themes throughout the books as well as varying angles that each author either left out or never experienced. Taking two women’s views as well as a man’s, we can begin to delve deeper into what their everyday lives would have been like. Charles Ball’s Fifty Years in Chains and Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were both published in the early 1860’s while Kate Drumgoold’s A Slave Girl’s Story came almost forty years later
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,
“Line of Color, Sex, and Service: Sexual Coercion in the Early Republic” is a publication that discusses two women, Rachel Davis and Harriet Jacobs. This story explains the lives of both Rachel and Harriet and their relationship between their masters. Rachel, a young white girl around the age of fourteen was an indentured servant who belonged to William and Becky Cress. Harriet, on the other hand, was born an enslaved African American and became the slave of James and Mary Norcom. This publication gives various accounts of their masters mistreating them and how it was dealt with.
“I asked why the curse of slavery was permitted to exist, and why I had been so persecuted and wronged from youth upward.” Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery and knew from the start that it was wrong. You can only imagine what exactly men and women’s experiences were while going through life as a slave. “If you have never been a slave, you cannot imagine the acute sensation of suffering at my heart.” Jacobs details the abuses of slavery, and the struggles slaves went through. She often referred to slavery as the demon, a curse, or as venomous similar to that of a snake. Many slaves wished death upon themselves and even their children instead of continuing on with their life as being a slave. Slaves went through extremely harsh conditions and were abused not only physically but also mentally. Even through all the tragedies, slaves stayed strong and stuck together and did everything they could to assert their power and gain freedom or to help someone else gain it. “There are no bonds so strong as those which are formed by suffering together.”
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.
Harriet Jacobs in many occasions had to learn there was segregation of African-Americans and White-Americans. “I found the same manifestations of that cruel prejudice, which so discourages the feelings, and repressed the energies of the colored people”(144). For African-American to live in the free states did not mean that were equal to White-Americans, African-Americans were not allowed to share the same public spaces as white people, cabins and restaurants. The Fugitive slave law was a danger for Jacobs and many other people in her situation, she still was a slave in the south and feared the persecution of kidnappers who would take her to the south. Jacobs often would find herself rushing and walking through the back streets whenever she had to do an errand (157). Jacob experienced what many other fugitives experienced, the lack of security to walk with freedom in the streets. When fugitive slave went to the Free states they realized that they were not actually free, they had to encounter segregation as well as the persecution of kidnapers and owners from the south. This constant inequality and fear of being taken back to the south therefore slaves could not resist
Educating the North of the dismay of slavery through the use of literature was one strategy that led to the questioning, and ultimately, the destruction of slavery. Therefore, Harriet Jacobs’s narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is very effective in using various tactics in order to get women in the North to pay attention and question the horrifying conditions in the South. By acknowledging that not all slaveholders were inhumane, explaining the horrific abuse and punishments slaves endured, and comparing the manner in which whites and slaves spent their holidays, Jacobs’s narrative serves its purpose of arousing Northern women to take notice of the appalling conditions tons of Southern
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
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.
In Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, personal accounts that detail the ins-and-outs of the system of slavery show readers truly how monstrous and oppressive slavery is. Families are torn apart, lives are ruined, and slaves are tortured both physically and mentally. The white slaveholders of the South manipulate and take advantage of their slaves at every possible occasion. Nothing is left untouched by the gnarled claws of slavery: even God and religion become tainted. As Jacobs’ account reveals, whites control the religious institutions of the South, and in doing so, forge religion as a tool used to perpetuate slavery, the very system it ought to condemn. The irony exposed in Jacobs’ writings serves to show
In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs depicts her struggle as an African American woman during slavery. As a female slave in her master's house, she was subject to her master's sexual advances. Jacobs explains her feelings about her master's desires and the struggle of female slaves in the following comments:
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. Actions like this contribute to prostitution today, yet people still do not consider prostitution a form of slavery. These truths are tangible today due to African American authors Susie King Taylor and Kate Stone. Thankfully, white abolitionist women such as Ida B. Wells and Mary Chesnut were around to stand up for slaves and women.