The Tales of Slave Women in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

The Tales of Slave Women in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

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The Tales of Slave Women
In the book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by Harriet Jacobs under the appearance of Linda Brent, the writer describes the adversities of the Southern slave in the 1800s. According to Linda Brent, alias author Harriet Jacobs, the life of a slave woman was far more complex than that of a slave man, although reasonably equal in hardships, the experience of slavery for a woman was awfully different.
As a female slave, Jacobs has a very different story than that of a slave man therefore, her narrative is uncommon in the tales of slavery. She stresses that just like any male slave, women were also hit, starved, or made to work in the hot fields. But unlike men, the women suffer from sexual harassments from their masters as well as the loss of their children to the cotton production. In repeated accounts, she depicts the anguish of mothers whose children were sold and the humiliation of slave girls who where sexually abused by the white man. For the slave women, these experiences were just as hard as any physical punishment the man received, if not more so.
The experiences that Linda Brent, Harriet Jacobs, went through in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl attest that slavery was crueler for slave women. When Linda Brent found out that she gave birth to a baby girl, she envisioned every single misfortune, sorrow, and shame of her own unwillingly inherited to her daughter. Every bit of emotional suffering and physical pain she had felt throughout her lifetime as a slave was about to be passed down to her most prized possession, her daughter; a daughter who would be property. “When they told me that my new-borne was a girl, my heart was heavier than it had ever been before. Slavery is terrib...


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... purity and moral believes unlike the slave women who was forced to submit to her master’s will and relinquish their purity regardless of their ethical standards. “But, O, ye happy women whose purity has been sheltered from childhood…do not judge the poor desolate slave girl too severely! (Jacobs 60) What Jacobs saying is that the slave women cannot be held liable for her lack of virtuousness. If it was up to Linda’s decision, she would have held her chastity for the partner of her choice, but that was delusional thinking in a slave system. “… I tried hard to preserve my self-respect; but I was struggling alone in the powerful grasp of the demon Slavery; and the monster proved too strong for me” (Jacobs 60) No matter how much effort Linda put in evading Dr. Flint’s sexual advances, the ending results would have been the same for Linda or any other women in slavery.

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