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It is one of the earliest examples of a female slave narrative. It is particularly interesting to be compared with “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, a…
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Download file to see previous pages... who are familiar with Douglass narrative and as a writer, for Harriet, who would have read the same, the shaping and meaning of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” would be specially filtered by their knowledge of the Douglass narrative. The incidents, motifs, themes, and symbols would possibly allude to or be influenced by Douglass narrative. This is intertexuality and it offers a rich meaning to the discursive features of the text either to heighten the contrast or to emphasize the similarities.
Harriet Jacobs’ reference to the hypocrisy of the Christianity in the South as she witnessed alludes to the irony with respect to Christianity and slavery Douglass Narrative. Harriet exclaims “O, the hypocrisy of slaveholders!” when she talks about
Mrs.Flint as a hypocrite as she turns brutal and insensitive to her slaves when she is suspicious of a sexual relationship between Linda and Dr. Flint and in turn is vicious towards Linda. She shows how the slave system changes the moral character of southern women. She tells of a minister who, shortly after Nat Turner’s rebellion, preaches to slaves about their Christian ethical obligation to be obedient, hardworking, servants to their masters. Harriet remarks, “There is a great difference between Christianity and religion at the south.” (p. 82); She describes how slaves are taught to obey their slaves as part of their Christian morals, and this alludes to Douglass’ reference to the hypocritical Christianity of the Slave owners when they “strongly believe that they have ‘god-given right to hold and sell and ill-treat slaves’.
In addition, Harriet points out at the moral degrading effect of slavery as an institution on the slave owners and this is parallel to Douglass narrative. The editor Richard D. Webb, writes: "This book shows as forcibly as any story we have ever read the moral pollution and perversion inevitable in a community where slavery is a recognized institution”. “Yet few ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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