Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

1398 words - 6 pages

1. The most memorable part in the Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is the portion about Linda’s hiding for “nearly seven years” (Jacobs122) in a place that is not even bearable for mosquitoes to enter (101). Reading chapter after chapter about Linda hiding in such an uncomfortable space was enough to make my hatred for slavery even worse than I had ever imagined. For freedom, she lay day after day in a place that she was unable to stand up and easily move around in (96). I thought about how she was so close to her children, but unable to share their young lives (96). I could almost feel the cold and heat from the open exposure of the “thin shingle roof” (98). This tears at my thoughts beyond my understanding. It is most memorable to me because she suffered more in her attempts to be free than she spoke of suffering in slavery. She said her life as a slave was “comparatively devoid of hardships” (96), but was willing to imprison herself in a horrible, heart wrenching hide-away. She gave up involuntary servitude for voluntary confinement. She had nothing to protect her. All she had was freedom from emotional abuse, moral filth, and sexual mistreatment. I have to question was it all worth the suffering? Or what more could one have done?
2. Jacobs suggests that slavery affects the owners as well as the slaves. In her book, I see that slavery “deadens the moral sense” of the owners (Jacobs 33). Even Mr. Flint was “the father of eleven slaves” (32), but he did not hesitate on selling them or from calling “himself their master” (33). Slave owners viewed their slaves as property and did with them whatever they thought was appropriate. Mr. Flint emotionally abused Linda by “restless, craving, vicious…stinging words” that reminded her constantly that she “was made for his use, made to obey his command in every thing” (18). He wanted her strictly for his sexual cravings and began planning to seclude her for his pleasure. Slave owners also became murders and “cruelties…perpetrated…without comment” (41). Slaves were brought before their master and a “rough box was their coffin” (41). Even the master was laden with fear because “murder was so common” (41). As for others, “infants [were] smothered” (46), slave girls are raised “in an atmosphere of licentiousness” (45), and valuable slaves receive “the treatment of a dog” (43) and are never acknowledge as human beings. Even the ‘kind’ Mr. Sands does not keep his word and follows the ways of a slave owner.
3. Slavery was oppression at the core. Many slaves who attempted escaping were chased down by “bloodhounds…[that] literally tore the flesh from [their] bones” (41). Others were so oppressed that they lacked the strength and means of escape. Others who thought about escaping saw only the danger, danger associated with their life and danger associated with their position. Some slaves stayed because they never really knew the reality of slavery, “they had never felt slavery” (45). ...

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