Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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Although legality by and large determines the existence and prominence of oppression, the concept extends well beyond the scope of the law. Albeit the law can nullify legislation that entails aspects of oppression such as discrimination, the law can also permit, at times, for such things to exist. A legal system that is implemented and enforced within a society eventually becomes directly fused with the citizens and even life itself. It is interesting that contemporarily we most often discuss and reminisce the most important and most well-known events in our history; the most groundbreaking ones. In our schools we teach the “master-narrative” but overlook the personal lives of historical figures who were involved in such events, as well as those characters who were just “average” victims of their situations. Just as riots and marches can be used as tools for or against a cause, personal expression, on a much smaller and individual scale form the very building blocks that lead to revolutionary events and changes in our world. Collectively revolutionary leaders and events in our history are of utmost importance, but the individuals who may not have had their stories told, or that were involved in the initiation of the cause are just as vital. Before fighting the injustices out in the world we must be able to express them within ourselves. Even leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. had tactics that he would practice when in front of national leaders, and those which he incorporated into his daily and personal life as a means to remain strong. We can observe this “micro-level resistance” to relevant injustices through the lives of individuals such as portrayed in two novels: Kate Chopin’s fictional work, The Awakening, and Harriet...


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...the inclusion of both African American Woman, as well as African American men into this categorization of property. Jacobs introduces the reader to the concept of slavery as she opens the novel with the impactful line: “I was born a slave” (Jacobs, Ch. 1).



Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Chicago & New York: H.S. Stone &, 1899. Project Gutenberg. 4 Nov. 2012. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. .
Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Boston: Thayer & Eldridge, 1861. Documenting the American South. Library of Congress, 2003. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. .
"Kate Chopin The Awakening." The Awakening, Kate Chopin, Characters, Setting, Questions. The Kate Chopin International Society, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. .

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Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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