The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacob Essay

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacob Essay

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“Reader, be assured this narrative is no fiction.”
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...


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...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.

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