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. Compared to the lives of slaves, her life is much easier and she has the luxury of knowing she is not and never was a slave. In contrast, Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl is a direct portrayal of slavery through the eyes of a slave. Although the viewpoints are very different, there are similarities in their experiences and in the way each responds and fights for their freedom.
The first parallel exists in how both Dana and Jacobs are taught to view themselves. Jacobs states, ? I was born a slave; but never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away? (Jacobs 7). Jacobs? father allowed her the freedom to grow up happy and unfettered by slavery. Once she did realize she was a slave, her mistress further encouraged independent thought with kind treatment and by teaching Jacobs to read. Therefore Jacobs had little worries about slavery for the first twelve years of her life.
Dana grew up in 20th century America, where life for African-Americans is drastically changed. She never had to worry about slavery nor gave it much thought beyond what she read in books or learned in classes. She is even married to a white man. When transported back in time she is truly perplexed by the treatmen...
... middle of paper ...
...wn time where
slavery doesn?t exist, and Jacobs, desperate to save her children and give them freedom.
As stated earlier, Jacobs and Dana experience slavery from very different perspectives. Dana is well educated and prior to going back in time, has only read about slavery, while Jacobs, although literate, is born into slavery and knows nothing else. Yet these major differences do not change the veneer of slavery. Both are considered property and both had to endure and watch others endure unimaginable cruelties. It seems only natural that the similarities in their experiences produced similarities in how they reacted and how they escaped to freedom.
Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon, 1988.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Ed. Jean Fagan Yellin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A slave narrative is to tell a slave's story and what they have been through. Six thousand former slaves from North America told about their lives during the 18th and 19th centuries. About 150 narratives were published as separate books or articles most slaves were born in the last years of the slave regime or during the Civil War. Some Slaves told about their experiences on plantations, in cities, and on small farms. Slave narratives are one of the only ways that people today know about the way slaves lived, what they did each day, and what they went through.... [tags: slave narratives, frederick douglas]
1265 words (3.6 pages)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]
1246 words (3.6 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Family]
1419 words (4.1 pages)
- As a reflection of the culture from which it springs, art has served the purpose throughout history of both responding to current events and pervading memes and of providing a generative force through which those elements may perpetuate and, in some cases, resolve themselves. Various genres have evolved as necessary to frame and comment on society at given points throughout history, establishing a powerful artistic repertoire. The Slave Narrative is a prime example of this phenomenon, having arisen out of the collective need for a people to respond to their situation in a manner that the surrounding society would not only allow, but embrace for its ambition, vision, and enlightening nature... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
1266 words (3.6 pages)
- Imagine living day to day unable to control anything that happens, being shoved around like a nobody, and treated so poorly that the only way to escape this torture is to run away. Harriet Jacobs goes through three stages in her life, Innocent, Orphan, and Warrior. Nellie McKay defines the stages in her opinion through the essay “The Girls Who Became the Women.” Jacobs illustrates her life and the true stages through her autobiography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Jacobs goes from being a harmless slave child to being rebellious, through three life changing stages.... [tags: innocent, orphan, warrior, biographical analysis]
745 words (2.1 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)
- 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)
- 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)