Harriet Jacobs Incidents In The Life Essay

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Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage. For Harriet, slavery was different than many African Americans. She did not spend her life harvesting cotton on a large plantation. She was not flogged and beaten regularly like many slaves. She was not actively kept from illiteracy. Actually, Harriet always was treated…show more content…

Mistress Horniblow was the one who taught her to read and spell, and treated Harriet like she was her own daughter. Mistress never worked Harriet to hard or prevented her from having fun as little white girls did. Mrs. Horniblow kept her promise that Harriet should never suffer from anything. So, under the care of her mistress, Harriet?s life was a happy one. Still the affects of slavery had not taken hold of her. This went on until her mistress died and Harriet for the first time was exposed to her value as property. It is clear that Harriet Jacob?s has spent the better part of her life trying to reconcile the feelings she has towards her first mistress. On one hand, Harriet loves her mistress deeply for the way she treated Harriet. On the other hand, how could someone that apparently cared for her so much leave her with such an unpredictable fate? It seems that Harriet?s ignorance of her status as property is challenged greatly at this point. In Harriet?s retrospect as an older woman she seems to not have feelings of love and affection to her mistress but does have appreciation for the knowledge that she gained from her.

The next stage of Harriet?s life contains the realization of what slavery is. It was at this time that her true education began. The days of happy frolic were gone, the anguish of slavery was all that lie ahead. Everywhere, Harriet looked there was atrocities happening. Before, when she lived with Margaret Horniblow, she was

Essay on Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs

909 Words4 Pages

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs strongly speaks to its readers by describing the brutalities of slavery and the way slave owners can destroy peaceful lives. After reading and rereading the story have noticed certain things regarding how Jacobs tries to educate her readers and her intended audience which is the women of the North. As if we do not know enough about how terrible slavery is, this story gives detailed examples of the lives of slaves and provokes an incredible amount of emotions. She uses several tactics in her writing to reach her desired audience and does so very well.

The way she wrote the story does not seem as though she is emotionally connected. Perhaps she was desensitized to such topics due to…show more content…

From learning this we know Harriet is not in for a good future with this family. The way Jacobs describes the importance of the women in her life is inspiring, given that, at the time they had such little power and such few rights. “Mrs. Flint, like many southern women, was totally deficient in energy. She had not the strength to superintend her household affairs; but her nerves were so strong, that she could sit in her easy chair and see a woman whipped, till the blood trickled from every stroke of the lash” (Jacobs 360). The way she describes Mrs. Flint perfectly captures what all women in the south were like. This portrays an excellent example to Northern women how serious slavery can affect a person.

Slave owners could completely ruin the lives of slave women and their children with such ease and that is disgusting. The actions that Dr. Flint took can speak for all slave owners. The mistress did not help either; in fact she made it worse for the slave women by displacing her anger towards her husband on the slaves. Whenever Mr. Flint would punish or put them to death, the mistress would mocks the mother. “The girl’s mother said, ‘The baby is dead, thank God; and I hope my poor child will soon be in heaven, too.’ ‘Heaven!’ retorted the mistress. ‘There is no such place for the like of her and her bastard’” (Jacobs 361).

In every chapter of her life Jacobs constantly makes a point about the connection between the slave women and their

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