The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

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Freedom has had many interpretations to many different kinds of people in centuries past. Throughout history, people have struggled with problems that enslave them. Entire populations have even moved to different countries in the search for freedom from the struggles that they have face in life. Slavery can be not only physically abusive, but also mentally and sexually. Harriet Jacobs struggled with many types of slavery during her lifetime. Her own personal definitions of freedom that she defines in her story, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” changed throughout her life as a result of the different experiences that she faced. A person’s thoughts about an idea, like freedom, can change based off of their environment, the people around them, and personal experiences over time.
Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, but did not have complications until she was given to a slave owner whose father was Dr. Flint. Dr. Flint sexually pressured Jacobs during her childhood. The stress and distress that Dr. Flint was causing Jacobs drove her to define freedom for the first time in her life. Her desire for freedom came “when he told me that I was made for his use, made to obey his command in everything; that I was nothing but a slave, whose will must and should surrender to his, never before had my puny arm felt half so strong” (Jacobs 18). Most slaves want to be free from the physical exhaustion of slavery, but the freedom from sexually impurity was Jacobs’ main focus during the adolescent years of her life when she was about sixteen years old. The struggles that she faced with Dr. Flint affected her mentally and emotionally to the point where she had to do anything she could to get away from it. Jacobs decided to have relations wit...


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..., with the delightful consciousness of pure, unadulterated freedom” (Jacobs 142). This sense of peace and contentment was the freedom that she had searched for her entire life.
Slavery for many people is physical, emotional, and sexual abusive. “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint” is one way freedom can be defined, but ultimately each person colors the definition of freedom with their own thoughts, feelings and perceptions that accrue during their lifetime. The different meanings behind a single word can be explained by the forces of a person’s surroundings, the people living around them, and internal significance within each person. The sense of freedom changed within the lives of many former slaves. Harriet Jacobs and her personal sense of freedom enabled her to take the necessary steps to ultimately become free.

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