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The Affect Slavery Has On Family Life

982 words - 4 pages

Slavery: The Affect It Has On Family Life & The Effects Of It
The lives of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave includes diverse experiences that allow them to share common factors to relate to each others stories. Jacobs and Douglass were born during the slavery period in the “less harsh” regions of North Carolina and Maryland. Looking at and comparing their childhood, Jacobs and Douglass both enjoy the happier moments until they both experienced the loss of their mother at an early age. Respectively, Jacobs and Douglass conclude that slavery deteriorates the relationship between families - instead of building them up.
In Narrative, Douglass describes the emotions being felt after being separated from his mother. Douglass says, “Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of [my mother’s] death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger” (1890). By being separated from his mother, Douglass was not given an opportunity to develop feelings or a relationship with his mother. Douglass relays to his audience the abnormality of slavery. He explains how slave master’s complicate the natural way of life in order to make someone a slave. Douglass says, “For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the evitable result” (1890). Douglass makes it apparent to his audience how slavery destroys the importance of maintaining a relationship with family and having a sense of where they came from. Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs also was a victim of the effects of slavery on family relationships.
In Jacobs’ slave narrative, Incidents, she speaks of a woman, Linda Brent, and her childhood. Brent’s childhood consist of being sold and moving from home to home. After Brent’s mother passed, she finally realized her place in life. Brent says, “When I was six years old, my mother died; and then, for the first time, I learned, by the talk around me, that I was a slave” (2032). That realization can be life changing and damaging to a child, especially after the death of a parent. Brent also discusses the situations of being a slave to her own siblings. Jacobs says, “But I was her slave, and I suppose she did not recognize me as her neighbor” (2033). Brent having to be a slave to her own relative added uncomfortable tension because they both share the same parental genetics. Not only is being a slave belittling, but it doesn’t make it any better if your master/owner...

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