Despair in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Linda Brent, Ms. Jacobs' pseudonym while writing "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," became so entrenched in hatred of slaveholders and slavery that she lost sight of the possible good actions of slaveholders. When she "resolved never to be conquered" (p.17), she could no longer see any positive motivations or overtures made by slaveholders. Specifically, she could not see the good side of Mr. Flint, the father of her mistress. He showed his care for her in many ways, most notably in that he never allowed anyone to physically hurt her, he built a house for her, and he offered to take care of her and her bastard child even though it was not his.
Mr. Flint tries to take care of Ms. Jacobs as well as he can. He always protects her from physical abuse that anyone would wish upon her. She states this fact explicitly many times. She writes, "Sometimes I so openly expressed my contempt for him that he would become violently enraged, and I wondered why he did not strike me" (p. 32). He does not strike her because he cannot bear to. Even though slaves are thought of as nothing more than property, and any white man can impose anything upon a slave, Mr.
Flint looks upon her as a human being. He also says: "'I have never allowed you to be punished, not even to please your mistress '"(p. 34). Punishing slaves was a standard course of action, it was not evil, and did not make the punisher a monster, or even cruel. In fact, he even kept her out from having to do hard labor in the fields.
Although Ms. Jacobs puts a different spin on it, "jealousy of the overseer had kept him from punishing me by sending me into the fields to work." (p. 41), he may very well have his own reasons for not forcing her to work in the fields. "If I wept, he would say, 'Poor child!
Don't cry! don't cry! I will make peace for you with your mistress... Poor, foolish girl! You don't know what is for your own good. I would cherish you. I would make a lady of you. Now go,...