Incidents in a life of a slave girl

Essay by Acgigglo05College, UndergraduateA-, January 2005

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl are Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. In order for one to truly understand the essence of Jacob's autobiographical narrative, one must be extremely personal and honest regardless of their relationship with the public. If it is too personal, however, the reader looses sight of the bigger picture, and does not relate all these hardships to the condition of the general female slave. 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. As a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs found this task very difficult. She had to contend with an audience that offered no support or compassion for women in her position." I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the north to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South."(Jacobs,429)

This motivation sparked controversy among the whites and admiration with the few that understood the necessity for absolute truth. 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 with regular accurance like many slaves. She was not actively kept from illiteracy. Actually, Harriet always was treated relatively well. She performed most of her work inside and was rarely ever punished, at the request of her licentious master. Furthermore, she was taught to read and sew, and to perform other tasks associated with a "ladies" work. Outwardly, it appeared that Harriet had it pretty good, in light of what many slaves had succumbed to. However, Ironically Harriet believes these fortunes were actually her...