Essay on Women Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

Essay on Women Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

Length: 1554 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


In her story Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs presents what life was like living as a female slave during the 19th century. Born into slavery, she exhibits, to people living in the North who thought slaves were treated fairly and well, how living as a slave, especially as a female slave during that time, was a heinous and horrible experience. Perhaps even harder than it was if one had been a male slave, as female slaves had to deal with issues, such as unwanted sexual attention, sexual victimization and for some the suffering of being separated from their children. Harriet Jacobs shows that despite all of the hardship that she struggled with, having a cause to fight for, that is trying to get your children a better life and fighting to be able to achieve freedom on your own, can give one a stronger will to live.
To illustrate her opinion, Jacob describes how many female slaves in the 19th century had enormously more adversity to cope and manage with then did male slaves. Sexual assault from the male slave owners and harassment from the female slave owners was commonplace. Many slave girls would start to be harassed and sexually assaulted around the young age of only 15, “But I had now entered my 15th year – a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl. My master began to whisper foul words into my ear” (26 Jacobs). This clearly shows that not only did female slaves have to deal with these kinds of harsh conditions; they had to begin to cope with these circumstances at a very young age. Throughout the novel Jacobs demonstrates the inner strength that these young girls had to develop to deal with their day-to-day lives.
Not only did these girls have to deal with the sexual assault from the male slave owners, th...


... middle of paper ...


...sweet little faces were looking up at me, as though they knew I were there, and were conscious of the joy that imparted. How I longed to tell them I was there”(97). She tolerated being locked away in an enclosed dark space for 7 long years in order to free her children from the current master that owned them as slaves, showing how having someone to put ahead of yourself makes you stronger and more resilient as a person.
Harriet Jacobs uses her story to show that despite how slavery was portrayed to those who lived in the North, in reality it was an abusive way of life. She also displays how much difficulties female slaves had to go through compared to male slaves. She uses her narrative to depict how important it is to have something to fight for whether it be your children, trying to achieve your own freedom, or trying to fight for your race to be better treated.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- The two slave narratives Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself provide two different perspectives on the institution of slavery. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depicts a female perspective of slavery in the 1850s while The Interesting Narrative of the Life... provides a male perspective from almost a hundred years before. Although written at different times from different perspectives, both works illustrate the tragic reality of American slavery....   [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, British Empire]

Strong Essays
761 words (2.2 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)

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
975 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

- Just like any other narrative, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” by Harriet Jacobs is a narrative telling about a slave 's story and what slaves go through as they execute the socioeconomic dictates of their masters. It is important to note that more than five thousand former slaves who were enslaved in North America had given an account of their slave life during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of their narratives were published on books and newspaper articles. Most of the stories of these slaves were centered on the experiences of life in plantations, small farms owned by the middle class natives, mines and factories in the cities....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Strong Essays
1313 words (3.8 pages)

A Rose For A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- In the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs expresses to her readers the experiences she has as a slave girl in the Southern part of America. Her story begins as a sheltered child, to her father’s death, and her struggle to live independently and dignified as a slave. She is constantly degraded by her master, and is constantly in danger of being sexually exploited by her mistress’s husband. However her experiences helped her learn to fight for her right as a free individual, and to stand up to her sexual predator Dr....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Human]

Strong Essays
716 words (2 pages)

Essay on Women Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is a perfect sentimental narrative. Sentimental lecture became popular with women in the 1850s. Sentimental themes shown in Jacobs’s work include the sacred bonds, separation, love, death, heartbreak, sacrifice, and emotional feelings and sympathy throughout the narrative. According to Nina Baym, in Harriet Jacobs autobiographical work, Jacobs sought to “capture the attention of Northern white women… to show them how slavery debased and demoralized women…[and] to create sympathy for her plight; she sought to win the respect and admiration of her readers for the courage with which she forestalled abuse and for the independence for which s...   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
2009 words (5.7 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]

Strong Essays
1719 words (4.9 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]

Strong 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]

Strong Essays
642 words (1.8 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]

Strong Essays
1036 words (3 pages)