Insert Name: Insert Insert Date: Introduction Slavery is a process whereby people are treated as possessions for buying and selling and are forced to work. Slaves are held against their wish and deprived their right to refuse to work and the right to demand compensation…
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To help us understand this, we will tackle three topics; how slavery is more damaging to women than men, life in the North after the escape of Jacobs and how slavery undermined families in the south. Q1 Harriet Jacobs wrote a tale about life as slave and the challenges that she had to experience. The story exposes the bodily and emotional abuses a female has to endure when she is a slave. The story shows how women underwent terrible and traumatizing brutality of slavery than their male counterparts. Jacobs like many other slave women were sexually harassed by their white masters. According to the story, Jacobs was sexually teased and manipulated by Mr. Flint her master. Dr. Flint would usually remind her that she was her property and that he could as well do whatever he wanted with her. This made Jacob’s life to be uncomfortable and fearful. Dr. Flint would meet Jacobs at every turn, and remind her that she belonged to him, and swear by heaven and earth that one day, she will make her agree to her advancements. The situation was so traumatizing that Jacobs could hear Dr. Flint’s footsteps when she was relaxing after a long day of work. Whenever Jacobs would visit her mother’s grave, she would see a dark shadow of Dr. Flint following her. Life was so horrible for slave women that sexual exploitation was a daily affair for them. Jacob and other female slaves were psychologically abused and perplexed. They were subjected to abusive traditions that were thought to be socially right. For instance, for a female slave to be deemed a lady in the south, there were harsh conditions that they had to abide. This made Jacobs be haunted by the loss of her innocence when she was a kid. White females were required to keep themselves pure, and their homes were protected by the law and they had the freedom of choosing their partners. Female slaves on similarly, had no liberty to decide their partners, and it was hard for them to preserve themselves or to keep themselves pure. Females were made to live in despair. Female slaves had to endure the hardships of motherhood in very harsh conditions. Motherhood set a different experience of women slaves from their male counterparts. Female slaves were subjected to a hard situation whereby they are forced to prioritize their activities Jacobs had to prioritize between being a slave and being a mother concerned about the welfare of her children. After Jacobs had learnt that Dr. Flint wanted to make her and her children slaves, she took the risk of escaping to save the destiny of her children, despite knowing the consequences that would happen to her if she was caught. Jacobs risked her body and mind and lived in complete seclusion in order for her children to be free. Female slaves were in charge of their families more than the slave fathers. The role of slave fathers was not much significant as they were sold far from their families. Q3 Though the north is seen as not supporting slavery, discrimination is very rampant. Whites and light skinned blacks are treated differently from the blacks. Black women were not supposed to mix with the whites in the North. Jacobs remembers a situation when she was the only black maid in a hotel and was unfairly treated. She was shown a seat in the hotel where she sat down, only for the waiter to come and tell her to sit the baby in the chair and to stand behind it on her feet. Jacob was told to wait to be shown where she was to take her meal from, which turned out to be the
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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.
Linda’s story endeavours to provoke the compassion of her readers in order to endorse humanitarianism. However, this is not done in the usual way of depicting a female as a weakling who just accepts all that is handed to her. Most writers attempt to bring out compassion in a character by using the stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ role.
While depicting the painful realities of a slave woman’s life she makes her narrator Linda Brent comment that “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women” (Jacobs 64). By comparing herself with other male slaves, she tells that female slaves’ conditions are far worse than the male slaves’ for several reasons.
The primary focus of the novel is to portray women in different relationships: mother-daughter, friends, mistress-slave etc. The story not just depicts these relationships, but the writer seems to show that relationships were the supporting forces in the violence stricken life of slave girls.
Born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813, she was owned by a kindly mistress and, because orphaned, raised by her maternal grandmother, Molly Horniblow, a free woman, who is the Aunt Martha of her book She learned to read, write and sew, was a bright girl and hoped her mistress would free her.
However realizing the significance of the story she ventured to publish the book under the pseudonym Linda Brent and under auspices of other promiment abolishinists of the time –Amy Post and L. Maria Child.
Writing under the pseudonym made many experts doubt the
" retorted the mistress. "There is no such place for the like of her and her bastard” (172) In this quote, a sobbing mother witnesses her child dying, this quote means a lot to me since it demonstrates the extremes of incarceration and merciless slavery that was going on during that time.
The book gained critical acclaim when Jean Fagan Yellin, through painstaking research of the correspondence between Jacobs and Child, and Jacobs and Amy Post, another abolitionist sympathizer, credited the book to Jacobs. The book is a mix of the genres of domestic literature and the slave narrative, while at the same time being an autobiography.
However, there are many mistreatments that can only be imagined by the modern individual, in slaveholders’ households toward slaves. The abuses seemed to have gone beyond what has been observed in the past centuries that many slaves tried to free themselves from their situation, even wanting to be dead rather than continue to live as a slave.
Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl is an autobiography written by Harriet Jacobs who disguised herself as the protagonist called Linda Brent. It is her personal account of her life as a black slave girl in America.The female slave is stereotyped to receive treatment as a subordinate rank. (Moon 455). Female slaves were expected to surrender completely to their owners.
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