A woman holds her newborn for the first time in the clean warmth of a hospital, another tucks her toddler in for a nap, gently stroking their forehead, and yet another mother is leaving for her job. These are common occurances for women of today, yet 200 years ago this was far from the normality that woman faced, especially women trapped in slavery. In Harriet Jacob 's book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the horrors of her slave life are brought to life, shedding light on how far the ideology surrounding women have come. We still see traditional values expected of women in today 's world expressed in various forms, but the freedom to chose has spread. The reality for slave women was a time where the garuntee of your baby 's birth was not a given, where the freedom to tend to your children didn 't exist, and choosing to not be a stay at home mother was not even a thought. Having children, tending to children, being a good woman, were all parts that made up domesticity. Jacob 's narrative uses some of these key traits of domescitiy and "True Womanhood" to appeal to white women in the north using her book to illustrate the failings of this ideology with Aunt Martha 's life, the struggles and horrors of slave mothers, and even going so far as to make direct appeals to her readers.
Under the pseudonym of Linda Brent, one of the key people in Linda 's life and Jacob 's narrative is one of her few remaining family members, her grandmother, known as Aunt Martha. Aunt Martha was a prominent figure, even as a slave, in all the lives she touched, eventually “She became an indispensable personage in the household, officiating in all capacities, from cook and wet nurse to seams...
... middle of paper ...
...n, an example that white women in the north could relate to, was an example that even following the ideology of true womenhood didn 't save her from the troubles found in slavery. Slave mothers praising the Lord for taking babies, wishing to follow to the doors of heaven, sitting in fear of the day their blood kin would be ripped from them or worse, proved that domesticity and family was something not allowed to slave mothers. Finally, taking time to address the readers directly, forcing them to participate, to stop and think, answer the questions she poses of them, to think of their lives trying to fit in the domestic sphere. Jacob 's wants them to connect with what Linda and the other characters go through. All these three elements use traits found in domesticity and the ideology of True Womanhood to reveal just how difficult life as a slave woman and mother are.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Controlling Master Throughout history we’ve been taught briefly about slavery and the hardships they had to endure. However, most history books today suspends the true horrors of slavery and the conditions slaves faced. Howard Zinn sheds some light in his book, A People 's History In the United States. He talks about the horrible conditions of slavery and why enslaving African Americans prospered. One condition in particular was the sense of control. Harriet Jacob, the writer of “Incident In the Life of a Slave Girl”, talks about the struggles she endured as a slave.... [tags: Slavery, Abuse, Slavery in the United States]
738 words (2.1 pages)
Christian Slave Owner's Justification of Slavery in Harriet Jacob's "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" Contrasted with the Bible's Views on Slave
- Despite the fact that Christianity teaches the values of respect, goodwill and generosity, etc., Christian slave holders seem to exclude themselves from these standards, which is indubitably hypocritical. African American slavery is reducing a human being to the condition of property, the same as other goods, wares, merchandise and chattels. The treatment of slaves was customarily lamentable because slave masters had their profit in mind rather than the well-being of their slaves. Due to the way that slavery was practiced in the South, it and Christianity cannot coexist.... [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, slavery]
735 words (2.1 pages)
- 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.... [tags: masters, slaves, victims, labor]
1744 words (5 pages)
Slavery and Christianity in Harriet A. Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
- The Incongruity of Slavery and Christianity in Harriet A. Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself Slavery, the “Peculiar Institution” of the South, caused suffering among an innumerable number of human beings. Some people could argue that the life of a domestic animal would be better than being a slave; at least animals are incapable of feeling emotions. Suffering countless atrocities, including sexual assault, beatings, and murders, these slaves endured much more than we would think is humanly possible today.... [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]
1695 words (4.8 pages)
- Imagine yourself a female slave, living a life of service on a large plantation during the early-19th century. Imagine waking every morning at dawn to begin a never-ending day of cooking, cleaning, washing, and sewing. Imagine being at the beck and call of a master who not only uses you for daily chores, but also for his personal sexual pleasure. Imagine the inexhaustible fear of his next humiliating request and the deep feelings of shame and remorse for your inability to stand up against him. Imagine lying in bed at the end of the day wishing God would carry you to heaven so you would not have to wake and experience this hell on earth all over again.... [tags: American Literature]
1147 words (3.3 pages)
- Motherhood, in its simplest definition is the state of being a mother; however, it isn't as clear cut and emotionless as the definition implies. Motherhood holds a different meaning for everyone. For some it is a positive experience, for others it's negative. Different situations change motherhood and the family unit. Slavery is an institution that twists those ideas into something hardly recognizable. The Master and the Mistress are parental figures. Slaves never became adults; they are called boy or girl no matter what their age.... [tags: American Literature]
1205 words (3.4 pages)
Women In Slavery in Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative
- The notion of slavery, as unpleasant as it is, must nonetheless be examined to understand the hardships that were caused in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. Without a doubt, conditions that the slaves lived under could be easily described as intolerable and inhumane. As painful as the slave's treatment by the masters was, it proved to be more unbearable for the women who were enslaved. Why did the women suffer a grimmer fate as slaves. The answer lies in the readings, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative which both imply that sexual abuse, jealous mistresses', and loss of children caused the female slaves to endure a more d... [tags: Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano]
935 words (2.7 pages)
- This day in age, everything is always compared whether it is social status, racial problems, etc. A popular topic tends to be gender equality and different things both male and females endure, such as the fact that it is a lot easier for men to get a high paying job compared to women. Along the same lines, their suffering is also compared. In Harriet Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” Jacob’s shares her experiences as a slave including the most traumatizing moments she went through.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
940 words (2.7 pages)
- The Cambridge Introduction to the 19th-Century American Novel, the traditional sentimental novel’s storyline focuses around a young woman finding her way through life, usually without the support of a conventional family. The women overcome life’s hardships, and “the key to these women’s triumphs lies in their achievement of self-mastery” (Cane 113). According to Gregg Cane, these didactic novels are targeted at young women to instill the idea that a domestic home, marriage, and family are what construct a morally good woman.... [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]
1868 words (5.3 pages)
- Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage. For Harriet, slavery was different than many African Americans.... [tags: Slavery Jacobs Life Slave Girl Essays]
1478 words (4.2 pages)
- Teaching And Better Comprehension Of Learning
- My Role Model Of My Life
- The System Of The Nervous System
- William Shakespeare 's ' The Play ' Doubt : A Parable '
- The United States Of America 's Constitution And The Bill Of Rights
- Democracy Or Authoritarianism Is Better For The Economic Growth And Development Of South Korea