Harriet Beecher Stowe's melodramatic novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which she called in the preface a "series of sketches", was written "to awaken sympathy and feeling for the African race" (Stowe "Preface"). It was so successful as a polemic against slavery that Lincoln gently called Mrs. Stowe "the little lady who started this big war" (Hughes "Introduction"). Stowe wrote from the point of view of an abolitionist, a Christian and a Northerner from a state that bordered the slave-owning South. I. The Treatment of Slaves It would be an exaggeration to say that all slaves were mistreated physically, and Stowe makes the point that some states were more disposed to treat slaves decently than others.
Published in 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was an answer to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 had declared that all runaway slaves that were caught were to be brought back to their masters. Stowe used the Fugitive Slave Act as “the stimulus for showing [her] white readers how slavery threatened American culture” (Robbins 534). Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti-slavery novel, and Stowe uses the novel touch upon all aspects of slavery and its long lasting effects on not only the slaves, but also their families as well as their masters and their masters families. Stowe introduces the reader to characters who feel real and who are suffering at the unforgiving and unjust hands of slavery.
The institution of American slavery was fraught with many heart wrenching tails of inhuman treatment endured by those of African descent. In his autobiography Frederick Douglass details the daily horrors slaves faced. In Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave he depicts the plight of slavery with such eloquence that only one having suffered through it could do. Douglass writes on many key topics in slave life such as separation of families, punishment, and the truth that would lead him to freedom, and how these things work to keep slavery intact. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “My mother and I were separated when I was only but an infant…It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age.” (22) The bond between mother and child was broken before it had chance to form.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs strongly speaks to its readers by describing the brutalities of slavery and the way slave owners can destroy peaceful lives. After reading and rereading the story have noticed certain things regarding how Jacobs tries to educate her readers and her intended audience which is the women of the North. As if we do not know enough about how terrible slavery is, this story gives detailed examples of the lives of slaves and provokes an incredible amount of emotions. She uses several tactics in her writing to reach her desired audience and does so very well. The way she wrote the story does not seem as though she is emotionally connected.
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.
Frederick Douglass's Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the inhumane effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it. His use of vivid language depicts violence against slaves, his personal insights into the dynamics between slaves and slaveholders, and his naming of specific persons and places made his book an indictment against a society that continued to accept slavery as a social and economic institution. Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, and in 1853 she published Letter from a Fugitive Slave, now recognized as one of the most comprehensive antebellum slave narratives written by an African-American woman. Jacobs's account broke the silence on the exploitation of African American female slaves.
In the story” The incidents in the life of a slave girl” (ILSG)which was written by Harriet Jacobs implies that masters, and slaves are victims, in addition neither of them are to blame for what society institutionalized, not just one individual whites discrimination for blacks; which is rape, extreme labor, whipping and other violence in the act of slavery. As sectional tensions within the U.S. escalated toward civil war, African slavery became an increasingly important point of focus for literary texts of the antebellum period such as ILSG; underlining the violence and decrepitude experienced by slaves within the South. Slave journalists had visions of loyal and happy slaves who were contingent upon their owners for their own well-being and protection ("Slavery, Violence, and Exploitation in 19th-Century U.S. Literature | OER Commons"). Slaves are well-defined as being people who are bound in vassalage as the property of a person or household ("slave").
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an incredible example for what I am trying to show. This book was written during a time of extreme racial segregation and the hatred and cruelty shown, in general, towards blacks from whites is extremely important to understand before reading the story. This book tells the story of the life of a young, black, female slave in the south and focuses on trying to explain the trials, tribulations, and emotional and physical suffering that she, and many others like her, endured while being involuntary members of the institution of slavery. Brent, like every other victim of the atrocity we call slavery, wished those in north would do more to put a stop to this destructive practice. As she stated, slavery is de-constructive to all who surround it.
Feminism and Slavery Harriet Jacobs escaped from slavery and at great personal risk wrote of her trials as a house servant in the South and later fugitive in the North. Her slave narrative entitled Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gave a true account of the evils slavery held for women, a perspective that has been kept relatively secret from the public. In writing her story, Jacobs, though focused on the subjugation due to race, gave voice subtly to a different kind of captivity, that which men impose on women regardless of color in the patriarchal society of the ninetenth century. This form of bondage is not only exacted from women by their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons, but also is accepted and perpetuated by women themselves, who forge the cage that holds them captive. Jacobs directed her stirring 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.
Uncle Tom’s cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. It is an anti-slavery book that shows the reader the many sufferings endured by slaves in the period before the civil war. To the people of the modern day generation, these acts of slavery are unbelievable but the reader has to realize the fact that in those years, people suffered, to the point where they were just treated as property, where owners can do whatever they like and be disposed of or traded as if they were just material possessions and not even human. The book talks about the relationship between slaves and their masters as well as the role of women. As slavery was practiced during such times, Stowe tries to expose the difficult life people had in the past and how their faith in God helped them to endure all there hardships.