The incidents in the life of a Slave Girl take the reader throughout the events of the life of a woman, who was born into slavery, the suffering she went through while in that institution, and the way in which she finally becomes able to set her self and her family free from the oppression and begin a new life in the North. According to Jacobs (1988), she recorded the sexual sufferings she had encountered, and explained the way she devised ways of using her sexuality to stay away from being sexually exploited by her master. She had been separated from her two children and her grandmother for the period of seven years which she had gone into hiding after failing to get the way to free her daughter.
Linda lived most of her early life in a happy family and home because her fox's were comfortable slaves. Her mother died when she was six and was sent to stay with her mothers' mistress. After sometime the mistress passes on and Linda is forced to stay with her relative. Her new home is stressful and her father Dr.Flint begins to pressure her for a sexual relationship. Linda resolvers to have an affair with their white neighbor Mr. Sands after which she gets two kids, Ellen and Benny (pp.18).Her main plan was that by having this affair her father would sell her off to Mr. Sands in revulsion but instead, Flint sends her to his field to work there. Linda hides in her grandmother's house when she realizes that her children will be equally abused hoping that Flint will sell her children because it would be better than to have them disappear. Her dream comes true when Flint sells the kids to a slave trader working on behalf of Sands.Mr.Sands gets married and he is voted as a congressman, and takes Ellen to babysit his newborn baby girl something which worries Linda (pp. 209).
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Linda eventually escapes to the North after seven years of hiding where she reunites with Ellen as Benny is still living with Aunt Martha. She is disappointed to find that Mr. Hobbs who is Mr. Sands cousin still treats her daughter as a slave and she is concerned that he might send Ellen to the south (pp.211).Linda gets her job at the Bruce's house s a nurse but they treat her well but Mr. Flint continues to track her forcing her to run away to Boston. Here she reunites with Benny after which Mr. Flint stars to argue that Benny's and Ellen's sale was not legitimate something which gets Linda very worried that they might all be re-enslaved. After sometime, Mrs. Bruce passes on and Linda goes back to look after his children in Boston during which she enjoys her freedom from injustice. Ellen attends boarding school while Benny moves in with Linda's brother William in California after her return to Boston.
Mr. Bruce remarries while Mr. Flint Passes away after which his daughter Emily starts claiming ownership over Linda. Linda becomes highly susceptible to re-enslavement and kidnapping after the congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act. Flint's daughter and her husband Mr .Dodge appear in New York to take away Linda but she goes into hiding and Mr. Bruce new wife offers to buy her freedom (pp.253).Linda makes plans to go after Benny because she is not willing to be sold and bought but Mrs. Bruce purchases her freedom. When she write the book she is still Mrs. Bruce worker and grateful to her boss but she is infuriated by the slavery system.
The Incidents in the life of a slave girl was re-written by Harriet Jacob's in 1861, and it focuses mainly on the sexual abuse of female slaves. Both her and her parents were taken as slaves in North Carolina but her grandmother who worked as a baker owned her a home of her own. Her mother died when she turned six and was send to live with her mother's mistress Mr.Magaret Horniblow. The Jacobs were taught how to sew, read and spell by their mothers' mistress but she died when Jacobs was eleven. Dr. James Norcom Sexually harassed Jacobs and threatened to make her his concubine when she turned sixteen. This caused Jacobs to start an affair with the Norcoms white neighbor and eventually became pregnant and bore two children. She went into hiding hoping Norcom would sale off her children and luckily they were purchased by their father shortly after her disappearance. In 1842 she managed to escape to the and re-united with her children but the Fugitive slave law threatened her safety and she went into hiding once more. In 1852, Mrs. Nathaniel Parker Wills her employer b ought her freedom for $300.Jacobs and her baby girl continued to fight against slavery of African -Americans but she died in 1897 (Jacobs & yelin, 2001).
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These stories narrate the dreadful experiences endured by Jacobs under the regime of African-American slavery. In her book, Jacobs says that her "adventures may appear incredible". Jacobs described her life as miserable since her teenage years when her master started exploiting and violating her sexually. She appears to argue against the outset of womanhood which was also upheld in her sentimental novel. She also argues that being enslaved makes it not possible for a black woman to enjoy chaste and virtuous lifestyle. She also signifies the importance of domesticity and motherhood. Demonstration of how the association of slavery destroys and threatens black and white women alikeness is also portrayed. Jacob's story also shows that African women were greatly disadvantaged during the slavery people because even the African men tried to exploit them sexually just like the white. For example in Jacob's story, she was assaulted by her father and that why she opted to flee and have an affair with the neighbor who was white. Her daughter was also in a worse situation compared to her son. She was meant to take care of a baby yet she was still too young.
Jacobs main points which were also her main themes in the narrative the incidents in the life of a black girl included: the necessity to struggle for freedom, The problem of racism by the whites, The significance of family and the importance to provide security for family members, the organization of slavery chattels, the appropriate manner in which a woman should respond to tyranny, the limits forced on the discussion of the sexual experiences of women and finally the communal and individual goals in achieving freedom and equality.
According to Garfield and zafar (1996) Jacobs's narrative was originally written for the free white women who were not yet engaged in the "public sphere" debate. It was also meant to make the women of the North to fight against slavery and its abolition. This is because the white American women were instructed to hold on "Domestic cult" and were given rewards for obedience, domesticity, piety and purity something which was denied to the African women. Jacobs states that, "The whole system was against the defense of violence and sexual assault of black women and the raping of a slave was not considered as a crime but a intrusion of her master's property." (FN 2, p. 265)
According to (Sartwell, 1998) slave narratives are of great historical importance in the modern society and should even be taught in schools. They teach us today on how realistic slavery was in the 18th and 19th centuries. They expose the horrors, ordeals and manners in which slaves were handled as private property and mistreated instead of being given an equal treatment like other members of the community. They also show us that the slave grammar which was unique compared to the current one as they demonstrate the complex dialogue between black people and white in America. This is because they have been often taught in schools and even some people find them as very interesting stories. They are also necessary when one is carrying out research on the origin and heritage of African-Americans who were born out of the slave trade they also explain on the relationships between the black people and the white during the 19th and 18th centuries. From these kinds of stories it's evident that whites were the masters while Africans were their servants. The Africans were treated with a lot of cruelty and they were discriminated against by the white people. Basically they explain the roots of African-Americans.