Harriet Jacob talks about her family as being an important element in her life. Her father was a carpenter and seemed to be “intelligent and skillful” at his job. His main wish was to purchase his children, but it never happened. William was her younger brother who was two years younger than her. He was “a bright, affectionate child” (Jacobs 1). She also mentions her grandmother, whom she describes as being a “remarkable woman in many respects” (Jacobs 1). After her mother died, she was then under the care of her mistress. Her mistress created much happier days for her and even taught her how to read up until the day she passed. Which she then was sold to her mistress sisters’ five-year-old daughter. Her father, brother, grandmother, and mistress all helped her keep a positive outlook on her life after her mother passed.
As she talks about her mistress, she creates the belief that she had a good relationship with some of her white owners like her. She states that following the death of her mother, her mistress took her under her care and lived with Jacob’s at her house. She says, “No toilsome or disagreeable duties were imposed upon me” (Jacobs 3). This imposed that there were no real hard moments for her under her care. However, problems arose when she was given a new owner, Dr. Flint. He was very ...
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Throughout her story, Jacobs made it clear that slavery is hard. Especially under Dr. Flint. They did not have the right to do what they wanted. Unlike whites, slaves were not protected by law nor custom. As a woman, they would be viewed and used as sexual objects. Being violated, losing children, and overall helpless was tormenting for slaves.
In conclusion, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was very interesting. The book talked about the hardships of slavery and the emotional struggle of being taken away from family. Another aspect was gender discrimination. I feel like she did a good job speaking from her perspective. She is a good example of a determined woman who moves forward and refuses to view herself as property. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes history and wants to know about slavery from a perspective of one.
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