The Relationship Between White And Colored People On The Middle Class Women Of A Slave Girl

The Relationship Between White And Colored People On The Middle Class Women Of A Slave Girl

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Throughout ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ Jacobs uses three main strategies to appeal to the middle-class women of the North. Firstly, she emphasizes topics such as sexual relations, violence and loss to shock the readers as most members of the ‘Cult of True Womanhood’ have never been exposed to these realities. Secondly, Jacobs introduces many aspects of slave culture that humanize slaves and allow the reader to see the similarities between white and colored people, inciting empathy. Finally, Jacobs contrasts the treatment and lifestyles of whites and slaves, highlighting the senselessness of the cruelty and inhumanity that the slaves faced. Jacobs also uses a pseudonym throughout the book. This may have served the purpose of protecting her identity and that of her family and friends as the The Fugitive Slave Act was still in action when the book was published. It also served a bigger purpose. By using an alias, she told the story of every slave girl in the South, not just her own. This prevents the reader from presuming that Jacobs’ treatment was an irrelevant anomaly.

Linda Brent’s main struggle in the book was the constant sexual harassment that she experienced at the hands of her master, Dr. Flint. Jacobs states that the fifteenth year is "a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl” as it is when a slave girl begins to reach sexual maturity and she experiences the unwanted and often forceful advances of her master or his sons (Jacobs, pg.26). This also indicates that these advances were a common risk in the life of many female slaves, not just Brent’s. This is not only a cause of physical trauma, but it is psychologically arduous as the female slave has no power to reject her master’s advances for fear of h...


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...t they would also sacrifice anything for the wellness of their children. Motherhood was the one of the only things slave women and northern women had in common and it allowed them to understand the true horrors of slavery as Brent would rather have the most precious things in her life, her children, die, than live as slaves.

Overall, Jacobs writing was incredibly effective in achieving her goal. Her intelligent mention of concepts such as sexual relations, family and motherhood allow all readers, especially northern women, to relate and empathize with the story of Linda Brent and other slaves. Her writing evokes powerful emotions in the reader and motivated many abolitionists movements in the north. It also motivated northern women to stand up for themselves as the realized that, like the slaves, they also had no right, but the most certainly deserved them.

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