The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

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  Through her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs, under the pseudonym Linda Brent, documents her story under slavery and her escape to freedom for her and for her children and is addressed to the “people of the Free States” (Jacobs 3) who do not fully comprehend the evils of slavery. She makes appeals to expand their knowledge of the matter and states “only by experience can any one realize how deep, and dark, and foul is that pit of abominations” (Jacobs 3). As she recounts, Jacobs was born into slavery and after the death of her parents at a young age, was raised by her free colored grandmother. Jacobs then spends her next twenty years under her mistress’s father, Dr Flint, and his jealous wife. While serving under Dr. Flint, Jacobs speaks of her struggles, the harms done to other slaves, and the unwelcomed sexual advances that her and other female slaves faced by their masters. Though rather than submit to Dr Flint and in her attempt to escape him, Jacobs becomes involved with a white neighbor, Mr Sands, and bears his two children. This angers Dr Flint, leading him to separate her from her family, and sends her to work at his son’ plantation (Jacobs 72). Soon after her escape from the plantation, she is forced to hide in a crawlspace in her grandmother’s house. After seven years of hiding, Jacobs finally escapes to the North. Once there, she explains her trials as a fugitive slave, her attempts to be with her children, and eventual her freedom.
  Though born a slave, Jacobs’ family remained, for the most part, intact. Members of her family and personal friends guided and sheltered her for the majority of her life. Referring to her early years, she writes “though we were all slaves, I was so f...


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...male slave is compared to that of a man, it mentally takes a much larger impact on women due to the fact that they are in living in fear from constant threat of rape and sexual exploitation by their masters. As Jacobs accounts of Dr Flint, “my master met me at every turn, reminding me that I belonged to him, and swearing by heaven and earth that he would compel me to submit to him” (Jacobs 27). These successful acts then leads to the women bearing children and ultimately “the offspring are unblushingly reared for the market” (Jacobs 46). In this day and age, one would think about the amount of children one has produced, however, Jacobs discloses that “woman are considered of no value, unless they continually increase their owner’s stock” (Jacobs 44), meaning that the slaveholders counted those children as added wealth and sending them to the market helped their sale.

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