The two slave narratives Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself provide two different perspectives on the institution of slavery. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depicts a female perspective of slavery in the 1850s while The Interesting Narrative of the Life... provides a male perspective from almost a hundred years before. Although written at different times from different perspectives, both works illustrate the tragic reality of American slavery. As a key component of American culture, both Equiano and Jacobs are exposed to the Christian faith. However, Harriet Jacobs uses her religion to recognize the hypocrisy of white Christianity and consequently condemns slavery, while Olaudah Equiano inadvertently condemns slavery by demonstrating how religion enforces white supremacy through the retelling of his conversion to Christianity.
In Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet maintains a strong faith in God while she faces adversity. However, she is also able to apply a critical lens to southern, white church culture. Harriet is able to see through the hypocritical mirage of the southern white church as she recognizes multiple discrepancies in the ways Christianity is taught and valued in her town. By doing this while also documenting her struggle, her white readers are forced to recognize their own hypocritical ideals of enslavement.
Harriet first sees this hypocrisy when her 'kind ' mistress dies and leaves Harriet to her sister 's daughter instead of freeing her. She mentions, "My mistress had taught me the precepts of God 's Word: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself ', 'Whats...
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... Olaudah immediately asks his master 's wife if he can be baptized (137). Equiano 's process of becoming a Christian begs the question: Is he a Christian because his beliefs align with the faith, or is he a Christian because his beliefs align with whatever his white counterpart 's beliefs align with? Because of his recognition of the value of Christianity in his white superior 's eyes, the latter seems more plausible. Harriet sees the religious illusion crafted by the white community, while Olaudah falls victim to it.
Both Harriet Jacobs and Olaudah Equiano point out the illusions of white Christianity in from their own unique perspective. Jacobs uses her faith to recognize those illusions, while Equiano falls victim to them. However, both illustrate the deceitful reality of white supremacy to their audience and thusly advocate for the abolition of slavery.
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- The two slave narratives Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself provide two different perspectives on the institution of slavery. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depicts a female perspective of slavery in the 1850s while The Interesting Narrative of the Life... provides a male perspective from almost a hundred years before. Although written at different times from different perspectives, both works illustrate the tragic reality of American slavery.... [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, British Empire]
761 words (2.2 pages)
- Harriet Jacobs and The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl From 1813 to 1879, lived a woman of great dignity, strong will, and one desire. A woman who was considered nothing more than just a slave girl would give anything for the freedom for herself and her two children. Harriet Jacobs, who used the pen name Linda Brent, compiled her life into a little book called Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Mrs. Jacobs' story, once read, will leave nothing but pity and heart ache for her readers as they discover the life she had to endure.... [tags: Harriet Jacobs Biography Slave]
1478 words (4.2 pages)
- Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
975 words (2.8 pages)
- Just like any other narrative, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” by Harriet Jacobs is a narrative telling about a slave 's story and what slaves go through as they execute the socioeconomic dictates of their masters. It is important to note that more than five thousand former slaves who were enslaved in North America had given an account of their slave life during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of their narratives were published on books and newspaper articles. Most of the stories of these slaves were centered on the experiences of life in plantations, small farms owned by the middle class natives, mines and factories in the cities.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]
1313 words (3.8 pages)
- In the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs expresses to her readers the experiences she has as a slave girl in the Southern part of America. Her story begins as a sheltered child, to her father’s death, and her struggle to live independently and dignified as a slave. She is constantly degraded by her master, and is constantly in danger of being sexually exploited by her mistress’s husband. However her experiences helped her learn to fight for her right as a free individual, and to stand up to her sexual predator Dr.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Human]
716 words (2 pages)
- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is a perfect sentimental narrative. Sentimental lecture became popular with women in the 1850s. Sentimental themes shown in Jacobs’s work include the sacred bonds, separation, love, death, heartbreak, sacrifice, and emotional feelings and sympathy throughout the narrative. According to Nina Baym, in Harriet Jacobs autobiographical work, Jacobs sought to “capture the attention of Northern white women… to show them how slavery debased and demoralized women…[and] to create sympathy for her plight; she sought to win the respect and admiration of her readers for the courage with which she forestalled abuse and for the independence for which s... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
2009 words (5.7 pages)
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl uses clear detail and straightforward language, except when talking about her sexual history, to fully describe what it is like to be a slave. Jacobs says that Northerners only think of slavery as perpetual bondage; they don't know the depth of degradation there is to that word. She believes that no one could truly understand how slavery really is unless they have gone through it. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl do not only tell about the physical pains and hard labor that she went through.... [tags: Papers Slavery Harriet Jacobs Essays]
1719 words (4.9 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)
- The Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs, in the preface to her book, wrote: I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them far worse. I want to add my testimony to that of abler pens to convince the people of the Free States what Slavery really is (335). With this statement, Jacobs specified her purpose for writing and her intended audience. This insight gives readersan understanding of why she chose to include what she did in her story as well as why she chose to exclude other details. Although thi... [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]
642 words (1.8 pages)
- Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl According to 'the conventions for slave narratives', it is possible to categorize Kindred by Octavia Butler as a slave narrative. However, the circumstances that take Dana back in time are imaginative and fantastical compared to slave narratives such as Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. While reading Kindred, one doesn't really get the experience of the slaves, but how Dana feels as she participates in slave times.... [tags: Jacobs Slave Girl Butler Kindred Essays]
1036 words (3 pages)