Review Of ' The Life Of A Slave Girl ' Essays

Review Of ' The Life Of A Slave Girl ' Essays

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Throughout the history of the world slavery and discrimination has existed in many societies. Discrimination can be defined as the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex (Newman, 2015). By 1860, Abraham Lincoln felt compelled to note that nearly one-sixth of the total population of the American land of the free consisted of slaves (Herron, 2015). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is narrative written by an ex-slave, Harriet Jacobs, under the pseudonym Linda Brent, which reveals the unique brutalities and discriminations inflicted on enslaved women. Jacobs starts her story recounting her childhood years in the house of a slave family. Growing up with a father who was a tradesman, she never understood she was born into slavery. After her father and mother passed away at the age of 9, she was placed into a family working as a household slave. As she grew older, her master, Dr. Flint, took an interest in her and pursued her of sexual relations for many years throughout her adolescence. After creating a family of two children with another white man in hopes that Dr. Flint will sell her to him, her plan backfires and Dr. Flint makes her vow never to speak of this man again or he shall sell her children. She then fled to a crawl space in her grandmother’s backyard for 7 years before she made her migration to the North to reunite with her children. She writes of the horrible conditions of slavery, of individuality and humanity being stripped from them by slaveholders and mothers being divided from their kin. Jacobs includes many chapters detailing the ways in which slaves were punished, the lies about the North they were told, how they were bought an...


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... birth to a babe who was nearly white” and that, “the master said if she must have a husband, she may take up one of his choosing” (Jacobs, 1861 p. 15; p. 35).

In conclusion, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl explicates ideas of racism, gender norms and sexual abuse that were present throughout slavery. The act of dividing society based on skin tone was a blatant issue faced by many, making the African Americans to be seen as lesser. Gender inequality was seen not only between men and women of the same race but also men and women from different races. Sexual harassment was prominent throughout slavery between master and slave. All of these issues that black slaves faced motivated them to seek freedom to the North. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative that gives a first hand account into the ways in which slaves were treated.

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