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Incidents in the life of a slave girl (1861) by Harriet jacobs - Essay Example

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl In the book, Linda Brent highlights the importance of family ties and family values of the slaves. Despite the slavery condition, slave families had strong family ties within their society…
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Incidents in the life of a slave girl (1861) by Harriet jacobs
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Download file to see previous pages The major source of encouragement to such individuals was the dream of establishing families of their own in freedom. A major hindrance was imposed upon the slaves if they already had children or families while under the rule of their slave masters or holders. In Linda’s case, her grandmother was a source of empowerment in her life, acting as both her father and mother. Her free grandmother, who was always there for her and her brother Benjamin reinforced Linda’s economic needs and emotional support (Jacobs 4). In the story, Linda talks of her grandmother endless stream of support and refuge that indebts her to her grandmother. Linda’s grandmother is also her personal confidant to whom she tells all her secrets and dreams. As such, Linda respects her grandmother so much that she does not tell her of the struggle against advances from Dr. Flint, and this marks the first conflict between the two. Since her childhood, Linda’s grandmother was always encouraging her to assert her sexuality in order to avoid further slavery. This is an effort to pull her out of enslavement. Nevertheless, Linda faces many challenges while maintaining her sexuality, including the advances from Dr. Flint (Jacobs 21). Ultimately, she goes against her grandmother’s wishes and gives herself to Mr. Sands. This move, which she considers as triumph over her master, will have a negative impact on her relationship with her grandmother. Her grandmother is not happy after Linda confesses to her not only because of the importance of gaining freedom by maintaining her purity, but also because of societal values. Both the whites and the slaves held the institution of marriage in high regard. Another reason was the fact that children of slaves were to follow their mother step of servitude. Despite her grandmother’s empowerment, she also acts as a hindrance in her quest to obtain freedom. The relationship between Linda and her grandmother suffer a major blow as her grandmother does not approve of her path to freedom. Linda’s intimate relationship with Mr. Sands is completely unacceptable before her grandmother’s opinion. Linda eventually has two children with Mr. Sands, who tend to delay her escape mission to freedom. Linda eventually considers another strategy: hiding until Dr. Flint becomes discouraged and sells her and her children to another slave master. In her plan to escape with Mr. Sands, her grandmother discourages her by a mother’s guilt, telling her not to trust the man but rather stick to her kids. She goes ahead to tell her that a woman who leaves her children loses her respect. This persuasion by her grandmother is a dilemma in her escape plan, which might secure the safety of her children and herself. Linda’s grandmother continues to instill the fears of her being a bad mother by relating to her children, Ben and Ellen, like a mother. Her loyalty to her grandmother and the natural fear of forsaking her kids continues to hinder her escape plans, but not until the safety of Ben and Ellen threatened. Linda views their proposed move to plantations as slaves revive her escape plans. She acknowledges that the slaves in plantation are subject to harsh conditions than those in serving in the urban. The thought of her children suffering cruel treatment and conditions in the plantations forces her to flee disregarding her grandmother feelings and opinions. Linda places her children’s safety before the wishes of her grandmother, opting to remaining hidden in her grandmother’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Harriet Jacobs alias Linda Brent begins her distressing story with the Biblical words that declare the book’s motive, “ Rise up, ye women that are at ease! Hear my voice, ye careless daughters! Give ear unto my speech” (Isaiah 32:9 / Brent 3). The two literary works have something in common.
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