The lives of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave includes diverse experiences that allow them to share common factors to relate to each others stories. Jacobs and Douglass were born during the slavery period in the “less harsh” regions of North Carolina and Maryland. Looking at and comparing their childhood, Jacobs and Douglass both enjoy the happier moments until they both experienced the loss of their mother at an early age. Respectively, Jacobs and Douglass conclude that slavery deteriorates the relationship between families - instead of building them up.
In Narrative, Douglass describes the emotions being felt after being separated from his mother. Douglass says, “Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of [my mother’s] death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger” (1890). By being separated from his mother, Douglass was not given an opportunity to develop feelings or a relationship with his mother. Douglass relays to his audience the abnormality of slavery. He explains how slave master’s complicate the natural way of life in order to make someone a slave. Douglass says, “For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the evitable result” (1890). Douglass makes it apparent to his audience how slavery destroys the importance of maintaining a relationship...
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...o? Yet, Jacobs doesn’t allow Brent to feel the captivity entirely. Brent says, “We [I and my children] are as free from the power of slavery holders…and though that is not saying a great deal, it is a vast improvement in my condition” (2054). Jacobs makes the reader realize that Brent still has a battle to fight after freedom. Brent is not married, therefore she will have to be the protector of her children who have been in captivity for years.
In conclusion, the lives of Jacobs and Douglass aren’t necessarily identical but they both shared similarities from being slaves. From comparing and analyzing the narrative stories, it is simple to realize that the effects of slavery can be more traumatic on families and the long term effects it can cause.
Douglas, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas and Other Writings. Borders, 2009.
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