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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Autor:   •  February 2, 2014  •  Essay  •  980 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,769 Views

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an autobiography by Harriet Jacobs that details the life of a slave. The book was written in 1861 while Jacobs was still in captivity. The narrator in the book is Linda Brent and the general subject matter is about the hardships and pain a slave endures during their lifetime. This is seen through the eyes of a Linda who becomes a mother of two while still enslaved. Her only wish is to see the day where she can make a life and have a home for her and her children.

The author's purpose of writing the book was to give a first account of how slaves were treated. Jacob puts a lot of detail in describing how evil slave owners were. She also explains how they will do anything for profit. This becomes apparent to her when Mr. Sand doesn't set the children he has with Linda free. Even though he promised her he would do so. On the other hand she emphasizes with slaves, stating that have no choice but to do what they are told. In the preface of the book, Jacobs states her main purpose to writing the book was to show how evil slavery is and hopefully help encourage the anti-slavery movement. While she states her story is extremely painful, it is a story that she believes should be told.

The theme of the book is slavery and how disgraceful it is. The corruption associated with slavery is a strong theme. It is displayed by the torment slaves endure. Slave owners lose all morality when deciding to own slaves. In the book slaves are treated as animals and objects. Linda is pressured by her Christian married master many times to have sex with him. When she doesn't want to she is subjected to horrible treatment and conditions. This ties into another theme of abuse of slaves. Women are raped and have no choice but to obey. Men are beaten and lynched. One of the characters Mrs. Flint beats slaves until they bleed then cleans them up with salt. All and all the story detailed how slaves are stripped from their humanity. Finally, a strong theme in the book talks about the structure of slaves' family structure. Slaves are not allowed to choose who they married and at times are not allowed to get married at all. Children are separated from their parents and most of the time, never see them again. Linda herself is separated from her two children and never really gets them back. Mr. Sand the children's father ad slave owner sends the children to various places. Mean while Linda spends majority of the book trying to get them back so they can have a life together.

Slavery created a cruel event in the development of the United States and especially in the lives of many African Americans at that time. Every


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