Harriet Jacobs 's Life As A Woman Essay

Harriet Jacobs 's Life As A Woman Essay

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The story of Harriet Jacobs paints a broad picture of life as a woman, victim of abuse, and Black American in the south during the early to mid Nineteenth century. However, in the story, each of these identities are put through the lens of her being a slave, an experience and identity that colors and dominates each other one. Harriet Jacobs may not have significantly impacted the world, the nation, or even her state during her time as a slave, but by looking at her experiences through her eyes, the reader gains an empathetic understanding of many things they may not have, and may never truly experience.
As a woman in the south, Jacobs had a first hand look at the injustices applied to her gender in her lifetime; her perspective grants a look into the discrimination faced by white and black women, and the differences and similarities between these. As a victim of abuse and assault, Jacobs further grants a look into the role of women in southern society, as well as her community 's reaction to her treatment, both to the visible, and the invisible (even to the reader). Even as a “mulatto” Jacobs faced immense discrimination for her race, and despite the normality of this in southern society at the time, it is important to understand how her race affected each of her other identities, and how her treatment may have differed because of this. Lastly, her most significant identity was her position as a slave, as it ultimately had the final say in how she was treated in respects to each of her other identities. As a slave, there was a constant reminder of who you were, and what station you had in your society.
A vital determining factor in the life and identity of Harriet Jacobs was her femininity. Jacobs’ life story gives a glimpse in...

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...m of a variety of abuses. The daily ignorance and. And finally the shackles of the slavery she endured through most of her life. Each of these identities and experiences give glimpses into what life was like for a person with any one of these in common. Though the impact Harriet Jacobs had on North America was not quite significant at the time, she gives a voice and a face to the millions of her fellow enslaved women who never got their own chance to speak, and who were very significant to the history of this continent and nation. The life and story of Jacobs is ultimately important becuase it works to build a better understanding of experiences the reader simply cannot experience anymore. And in building this superior understanding of what happened and why it happened, Harriet Jacobs, even from her grave, is working to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

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