Home > Free Essays > Literature > American Literature > “Incidents in the life of a slave girl”
Cite this

“Incidents in the life of a slave girl” Essay


Introduction

“Incidents in the life of a slave girl” begins with a brief explanation from the author describing her motives for publishing this autobiography. The book reveals a horrific tale that Linda felt she should share in an effort to encourage the anti-slavery movements. Evidence suggests that horrific atrocities such as sexual exploitation, torture, and discrimination were carried out against black women during slavery.

Strength and Survival tactics

Most of the black individuals have documented their accounts of slavery, Brent begins the book with the statement “I was born a slave” (Jacobs & Child 11). The expectation would be that, the phrase will be followed by the date and location where she was born. The author describes in the initial pages the strong bond she had with her parents.

In the following chapters, this strong maternal relationship is directed at nurturing a compassionate association between the author and the grandmother. Linda’s strong and protective affection towards her children originates from the unconditional affection she got from her grandparent.

After illustrating that black parents are devoted to their children just like the Europeans, Brent associates it with the tale of the grandmother. She was forced to witness the sale of her son. Benjamin was only 10 years old when he was sold. However, regardless of her grandmother’s predicament, Brent does not display her as being an inferior woman. Her life was not dictated by fate.

Brent describes the grandmother as a strong-willed lady ready to do anything in her power to ensure that her family remained united. She loans her hard-earned money to her master. This money was planned for purchasing her children’s liberty.

She goes through a lot of pain and devastation when the master refuses to pay back the debt. In a nut-shell, Brent describes the grandmother as an aggressive, albeit susceptible lady. She is not a helpless victim, but a person who has been exploited and mistreated (Jacobs & Child 13).

When Brent’s mother passed away, she became a slave of the mother’s mistress. She worked for the mistress for 6 years. Her owner was very kind to her. However, after the death of the mistress she discovered that she lived at the will of her masters irrespective of the cordial treatment she got.

In chapter 21, Linda describes how she was forced to hide in an attic so that she could escape from her slavery. Although she was not able to communicate with her children, she could see them playing through a small crack in the attic. She emerges stronger after this ordeal by changing her perceptions. Even though she was confined in the attic, she consoled herself that she was finally free from Dr. Flint.

During the 1850s, the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted; this meant that slaves who crossed from Slave States to Free States could enjoy their freedom. However, the author’s escape involves moving from a big prohibitive environment to a secluded space. Despite being physically restrained, Linda feels mentally free (Jacobs & Child 174-176).

Perseverance

In this chapter, Linda describes her daily ordeal and how she is forced to persevere while living at the Flint’s residence. Linda receives sexual advances from Dr. Flint who is 55 years old, 45 years older than her. These advances from the doctor provoke his wife into jealousy. It is ironical that Mrs. Flint, who should be offering protection to Linda, accuses her of causing the husband’s lust.

Linda graphically illustrates her predicament of being a female slave trapped by the lust of the master and his irrational wife who feels insecure. The author argues that the beauty of a white lady is considered as a virtue. However, for black women beauty predisposes them to the sexual desires of their masters.

Linda discovers that regardless of being a slave, as a woman she has the ability to evoke the envy and jealousy of her mistress. She is subsequently caught in a dangerous circumstance that she has no power to control. Linda develops a strong hatred for Dr. Flint and discovers that she can get help from his wife. However, after revealing her predicament to Mrs. Flint, she is accused of causing the husband’s lust.

She is forced to look for another alternative to solve her problem. To demonstrate that her plight is not unique, she tells a story of two siblings. The author narrates a tale of two biological sisters who grow up together. The irony is that one of them grows as a slave of the other. The white sibling grows up and eventually gets married while the black slave is sexually exploited by the master (Jacobs & Child 44-47).

Sexual exploitation

When Linda opted to engage in sexual relations with Mr. Sands, she starts a new course of life that will not allow her to turn back. However, she is deeply sorry for the pain she has inflicted on the grandmother. She does not make any attempt to justify her actions. She openly accepts that in light of her intolerable situation, there was no other solution to her predicament.

The next time Dr. Flint makes a sexual advance at Linda, she reveals to him that she is pregnant with another man’s child. This offers her a sense of triumph over the doctor. When her uncle visits them before the birth of her baby, she is ashamed of meeting him. However, when she finally met him, she was taken aback by the compassion he showed towards her (Jacobs & Child 84-87).

Works Cited

Jacobs, Harriet A, and Lydia M. Child. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Boston: Published for the author, 1861. Print.

This essay on “Incidents in the life of a slave girl” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

GET WRITING HELP
Cite This paper

Select a website referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2019, December 12). “Incidents in the life of a slave girl”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl-essay/

Work Cited

"Incidents in the life of a slave girl." IvyPanda, 12 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "Incidents in the life of a slave girl." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl-essay/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Incidents in the life of a slave girl." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl-essay/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "Incidents in the life of a slave girl." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl-essay/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) '“Incidents in the life of a slave girl”'. 12 December.

Related papers