Writer Customer American Literature 5 December 2012 A Comparison of Autobiographical Style of Narration in; Personal Narrative by Jonathan Edward and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Pen is the man’s biggest weapon it is a cliche that is known and accepted by everybody because writing provides human beings with one the best modes of catharsis as well as a way of salvation…
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A similar situation is observed in both the novel “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs and “Personal narrative” by Edward Jonathan. Both the writers present the readers with an autobiographical account in their own unique way and it also forms a major theme of both the works because although they are talking about their experiences yet the context, the experience and the style of narration is completely different but still the same. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” is a detailed account of Harriet Jacob’s life as a slave during the 19 century. The novel is narrated in first person and the writer used the pseudonym Linda Brent in order to get her work published. The first person narration style creates a very close and direct relationship between the reader and the text because through this technique the author is able to make the readers his/her confidant. Although such a narrative presents a myopic view of the whole yet emotional impact is stronger in this type of narration. Furthermore the fact that the writer used a pseudonym to get her novel published is also of great importance as it highlights the author’s desperation to keep her identity a secret because of her fear of being recognized. Though the writer says that, “The slave girl is reared in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear” () yet it did not deter her from enlightening the world about her situation as well as that of her fellow women. As it is stated in the preface of the novel that, “I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them far worse” (3). Hence these lines very aptly explain the motivation and the desire that forced Jacobs to write an autobiographical account of her life. Hence it is observed that such a genuine and emotionally rich account of the Jacob’s life not only evokes feelings of pity and sympathy but also teaches the readers a great deal about the manner in which women were treated at the time and the manner in which they deserve to be treated. As Jacobs mentions in the novel, “When he told me that I was made for his use, made to obey his command in everything; that I was nothing but a slave, whose will must and should surrender to his” (). The treatment of women is an issue which has been of grave importance for the past couple of centuries and this novel is a good reminder of the injustices that women suffer. Moreover this autobiographical account also explores the psychology of women and their insecurities as it is apparent from the lines, I was an object of her jealousy, and, consequently, of her hatred; and I knew I could not expect kindness or confidence from her under the circumstances in which I was placed. I could not blame her. Slaveholders' wives feel as other women would under similar circumstances (). These lines not only explicate the insecurities of a woman who fears for her family but it also throws light on the writer’s wisdom at such a young age to be able to judge the appalling situation in which her fate had put her. Then again other issues like racism, slavery and role of religion are also discussed in this autobiograph
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