Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay

Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay

Length: 642 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 this work is presented as a narrative of her own life circumstances, there were many occasions when she described conditions of which she was not directly involved.  For example, she entitled one chapter "Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders" and dedicated this section to describing some of the horrifying experiences of other slaves...


... middle of paper ...


... demon that possessed the South, but she held the people of the free states accountable for their contributions in upholding slavery through their own laws that mandated the return of runaway slaves as well as their inaction against slavery.  Her decision to include what she did while excluding other enumerations was very effective in arguing her point.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Harriet.  "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl."  The Classic Slave Narratives.  Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  New York: Mentor, 1987.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig

- The Cambridge Introduction to the 19th-Century American Novel, the traditional sentimental novel’s storyline focuses around a young woman finding her way through life, usually without the support of a conventional family. The women overcome life’s hardships, and “the key to these women’s triumphs lies in their achievement of self-mastery” (Cane 113). According to Gregg Cane, these didactic novels are targeted at young women to instill the idea that a domestic home, marriage, and family are what construct a morally good woman....   [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]

Better Essays
1868 words (5.3 pages)

Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl: Harriet Jacobs Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
1478 words (4.2 pages)

Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
642 words (1.8 pages)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Essays

- 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]

Better Essays
1719 words (4.9 pages)

Slave Women in Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Toni Morrison's Beloved

- Slave Women in Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Toni Morrison's Beloved Slavery was a horrible institution that dehumanized a race of people. Female slave bondage was different from that of men. It wasn't less severe, but it was different. The sexual abuse, child bearing, and child care responsibilities affected the females's pattern of resistance and how they conducted their lives. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrates the different role that women slaves had and the struggles that were caused from having to cope with sexual abuse....   [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]

Better Essays
1581 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

- 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]

Better Essays
1478 words (4.2 pages)

Analysis Of The Narrative ' Incidents Of A Slave Girls ' By Harriet Jacobs

- In the narrative “Incidents of a Slave Girls” by Harriet Jacobs the author tells a compelling story. This is not only a compelling story but a story that holds many tails of her life. The Harriet Jacobs story is told through a young slave named Linda Brent. The tails of her unfortunate events hit close to home. Harriet Jacobs or should I say Linda Brent braveness, stride to survive and loyalty along with making a political statement is something I look up to can identify with. Throughout the story there were events that illustrated her characteristics listed above....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Better Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)

Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Essay

- Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl The feminist movement sought to gain rights for women. Many feminist during the early nineteenth century fought for the abolition of slavery around the world. The slave narrative became a powerful feminist tool in the nineteenth century. Black and white women are fictionalized and objectified in the slave narrative. White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and chaste while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality....   [tags: Feminism Slavery Women Jacobs Essays]

Better Essays
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl

- 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]

Better Essays
1036 words (3 pages)

Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl Essay

- Harriet Jacobs' words in Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl clearly suggests that the life as a slave girl is harsh and unsatisfactory. In this Composition, Jacobs is born a slave, never to be freed. She struggles through life in many instances making life seem impossible. The author's purpose is to state to the people what happened during slavery times in the point of view of a slave. Her life is so harsh that she even hides from her master for 7 years in a cramped space in the top of a shed without any room to walk....   [tags: English Literature]

Better Essays
503 words (1.4 pages)