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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Essay Example

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Title: Name: Tutor: Course: Date: The Introduction ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ gives a narration of the true life story under slavery of Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pseudonym, Linda Brent. The setting is in the 19th Century when bondage, capitalism and oppression intertwined to shape, determine and redefine the lives of African Americans (Littlefield 2007, 53)…
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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Download file to see previous pages... The response of the African American women to these conflicting roles entailed the creation of a new meaning to true womanhood, the basis upon which Jacobs bases her story. Through her struggles, Jacobs fights to redefine the cult of true womanhood from its oppressiveness so as to secure her life and that of the future generation. As a young African American woman slave, having lost her mother and a few years later her mother’s mistress to whom she was bequeathed, Linda Brent fights all odds against sexual oppression from her father, Dr. Flint, to the extent of having an affair with a white neighbor, Mr. Sands, with whom she begets Benny and Ellen (Jacobs 2003, 131). Linda seems to have discovered herself and her intolerance to the oppression and mistreatment that slaves, and particularly the women, were subjected to, causing her to always run away from its perpetrators, not leaving her children behind. The cult of true womanhood The 19th Century African American woman was expected to be a domesticator. ...
Furthermore, Linda appreciates responsible motherhood as a critical aspect of true womanhood and she sacrifices her welfare so as to ensure the well-being of her children. Even when she plans to escape to the North, she considers all options of having her children escape with her. She fights to see that they do not fall into the bondage of slavery, knowing the oppression involved. This indicates her embrace of motherhood together with the involved responsibilities as an appreciation of true womanhood. The excellence of a woman in domestic tasks made her worth of praise as a true woman. Secondly, submission was a key trait of true womanhood. African American women were to abide by what their husbands and men in general dictated without questioning, since men had God-given authority over women. According to Welter (1966, 156), the society then considered submission as the most feminine virtue that a woman had to portray whereas men were expected to be religious and pure, even though they barely had time for these. This submissiveness is portrayed when Dr. Flint objects to Linda’s wishes to marry her love, a young free black man, and in turn Linda asks him to leave and give up on the marriage. Religion propagated this submissiveness as observed of the minister who preached obedience to masters and hard work as Christian ethical obligations (Jacobs 2003, 82). Women were particularly to be passive, submissive responders in this society. To this African American woman, marriage was not to be guided by money but pure love, and its corollary is motherhood, adding to the prestige and usefulness of such a woman. As documented by Littlefield (2007, 54), motherhood for slave women was rooted ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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