Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

970 words - 4 pages

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a book written by Harriet Jacobs about the hardships she encountered during slavery. The book begins in a small Southern city during the 1820s where Harriet—under the name of Linda Brent in this book—was born under the iron chains of slavery, though she didn’t feel them until later in life. Her childhood was spent under kind masters and she was taught how to read and write, but the death of her last benevolent master proved to change things for the worst. She then became a slave of the Flint household, where she became a favorite of the married master of the house, Dr. Flint or Dr. James Norcom, when she reached a proper age. She was fairly rebellious for a slave and refused to be subjected to the humiliation of being sexually abused by her master. She decided to have an affair with an unmarried white man, Mr. Sands or Samuel Tredwell Sawyer (a future congressman), using the liberal freedom she received from her master. Harriet ended up having two of Mr. Sands’ children who were precious to her and were always at the heart of her plans later in life. She ends up running away after several years and the rest of the book revolves around her successful daring plans and sacrifices to make her children and herself free with many twists and turns upon the way.
This piece of literature occurs between the 1820’s and 1840’s in the antebellum years preceding the Civil War, primarily in the Southern states, but it also takes place in New York City and Boston for a little while and Harriet even recounts of some time she spent in England as well. During this time period slavery was a major institution in the Southern states and segregation was prominent everywhere in the Northern states. It was a horrible time to be an African American, enslaved or not, as what they lacked in rights they had in prejudices against them. In other nations those with darker complexions were treated as equals, such as England as Harriet experienced while she worked as a nurse for a kind woman in New York City.
Harriet Jacobs was an African American woman born into slavery who had a free father and an enslaved mother. Harriet wrote the book for the purpose of spreading the horrors she had encountered under the horrid institution of slavery and to give a more accurate portrayal of it than what had been floating around at the time. It painted a more grotesque picture than what many duped Northerners had written of when they inspected some plantations since the owners frequently lied and forced their slaves to do so as well. The book was solely from Harriet's perspective and is currently under the category...

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