The Life And Times Of Harriet Jacobs And Hatsuyo Nakamura

1405 words - 6 pages

How lucky were we to be born under the circumstances which we were? How blessed are we to live in the current conditions in which we live? All too often these are questions that are not pondered, but are aspects of life that are taken for granted. Harriet Jacobs and Hatsuyo Nakamura lived lives under conditions we cannot begin to imagine or even comprehend the realities they faced with each new day. Harriet and Hatsuyo were two strong willed women that were victims of circumstance, they had all the cards stacked against them, yet through perseverance they raised great children and chose to be positive elements in a society which oppressed them.Harriet Jacobs lived a life as a slave in constant fear and uncertainty. From the time that Harriet was born she was owned. She was a possession of someone else and therefore raised with the mentality she was not in possession of her own destiny. Fear is something that Harriet became accustomed to. With each choice that Harriet made came the consequence that it was not the right one in the eyes of her owner. She had to take into account her children and their well being with each decision she made. She feared for them more than she feared for her own salvation. Harriet went to sleep each night with a fear of what the next day would bring and awoke each morning to live through another day in her nightmarish existence. With uncertainty and the unknown comes fear, whether it is the fear of an unjust and cruel slave owner or the attack of a foreign military.The air raid sirens rang each day. The people of Hiroshima knew their time would come, they just didn't know when. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a widow, with three children often awoke to the sound of the sirens, fearing that this time might their time. The constant sound of the radio reports in the background, the planes humming overhead, the conversations of people in the streets, all added to and excited this intense fear imbedded within the residents of Hiroshima. Hatsuyo's fear was a little more extreme. Her instincts and human nature as a mother of three led her to worry less for herself, but instead, concentrating all her fear towards the well being and procurement of the lives of her children. Like Harriet, she wanted the best for her children, but their financial situations and uncontrollable events made their struggle much more difficult.Harriet desired a better life than she had lived for her children. Parents in general, but more so the mother, worry about the development and upbringing of their children. Harriet's dilemma was the fact that her children were hers biologically, but they were not her property. They became the natural property of her owner. In the cruel world of slavery, children were to unfortunately, "inherit the fate of their mother" (Brent x). Harriet was thus destined to have no impact on the lives of her children. They would be raised by her owner and then eventually be sold off. Harriet was determined to not let her children become...

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