Essay about Harriet Jacobs 's Life Of A Slave Girl

Essay about Harriet Jacobs 's Life Of A Slave Girl

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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 tactics that ultimately suppress their role in a social context. Harriet Jacobs articulates that her story is painful and she would rather have kept it private, but she feels that making it a public periodical available to newspapers in North may help spread the word of the antislavery movement. For this very reason Jacobs uses the pseudonym Linda Brent to narrate her first-person experience, which I intend to use interchangeably throughout the essay, since I am referencing the same person. All throughout the narrative, Jacobs explores the struggles and sexual abuse that female slaves faced on plantations as well as their efforts to practice motherhood and protect their children from the horrors of the slave trade. Jacobs’ literary efforts are addressed to white women in the North who do not fully comprehend the evils of slavery. She makes direct appeals to their humanity to expand their knowledge and influence their thoughts about slavery as an institution, holding strong to the credo that the ...


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...at all women possessed or should possess the virtues of piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. In a perfect world or utopia, according to Welter, "true women" were to hold and practice these four “cardinal virtues.” In piety, religion was valued because unlike intellectual pursuits it did not take a woman away from her "proper sphere," the home, and because it controlled women 's longings (Welter 1). In purity, a woman’s virginity is the greatest treasure, must not be lost until her marriage night, and married women had to remain committed only to their husbands (Welter 1). In domesticity, a woman 's proper place was in the home and her role as a wife was to create a refuge for her husband and children (Welter 1). Cooking, needlework, making beds, and tending flowers were considered naturally feminine activities, whereas reading anything other than religious

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