Analysis Of Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

709 words - 3 pages

In 1861, Harriet Jacobs published her book “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” The story is based in Southern United States of America during the time before Jacob escaped from slavery in 1835 (Reilly 649). Jacobs uses the name Linda Brent as a pseudonym (Reilly 649) and describes her experience as a female slave through a first person narration. The purpose of the selections featured in Kevin Reilly's, “Worlds of History,” is to show the victimization and emotional suffering female slaves feel against their white masters vs. the physical pain a male slave endures.
The first selection “III. The Slaves' New Year's Day,” begins with Harriet Jacobs summarizing what a typical hiring day ...view middle of the document...

She references her master, Dr. Flint, as a monster who 'violated the most sacred commandments of nature” (Reilly 652). Dr. Flint even threatens to kill her if she did not keep silent, which shows the reader another harsh reality of being a female slave. Jacobs uses the next selection “ VI. The Jealous Mistress” to describe the relationship between her white mistress and herself. Jacobs describes Mrs. Flint as a jealous wife who had no sympathy for the slaves. Dr. Flint never punishes Jacobs nor does he allow for anyone else to, which angers Mrs. Flint. Mrs. Flint becomes suspicious of her husband's intentions and confronts Jacobs. Jacobs is ordered to place her hand on a bible and tell the truth. She never goes into detail about the sexual abuse in her writing but explains how Mrs. Flint reacts to her testimony. Her mistress was not compassionate, which shows another example of the struggle to be a female slave. Jacobs was looked at as the source of pain and hatred, much like the opinions of slaveholders' wives in similar situations (Reilly 653)....

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