Life Of A Slave Girl
Incidents in the Life of a slave Girl is a heroic slave story of a brave woman's struggle for personal autonomy and freedom. Linda who narrates the story as Jacobs pseudonym explains how it is hard to disclose her past, but it is crucial that individuals know the terrors of enslaved females are exclusively subjected to , especially their sexual exploitation. She pleads to ideals of household ideology and asks females on the North not for their contempt or pity, but for empathy for her as well as other helpless slave women in the South.
Sexual harassment of female slaves
Linda faces sexual harassment for the father of her mistress Dr. Flint. He is a licentious and cruel male, like several slaveholders, tries to make Linda his concubine, and subjects her to many years of sexual harassment. Linda describes the anger and shock she felt through his sadistic attacks on her individual autonomy. According to Jacobs (18), Linda narrates that when Flint told her that she was made for his use, meant to obey all his commands, that she was nothing but a slave, whose will should and must surrender to his. Flint murmured impure things in Linda's ears, wrote impure letters but she pretended that she could not hear or she could not read. She shuns his advances by usually being in presence of others and she displays an incredible power over and opposition of Flints will.
The wife of Dr. Flint is brutal and callous woman who constantly enjoys the despair of the slaves. Other than confronting her spouse as a result of his lecherous deeds, she displays her respect to male power and blames Linda as the cause of her spouse's lust. Because she does not have much power to handle the issue, Mrs. Flint jealously and hatred to Linda enlarges and she turns out to be obsessed with trailing her every step. Linda elucidates that a thing that commands approbation in the white female only speeds up the deprivation of the woman slave (Jacobs, 28).
Dr. Flint who is Linda's master and enemy has legal rights to do anything he feels like to Linda, but desires to seduce her through threatening and tricking her other than taping her. All through the novel, Linda consistently goes against him and disobeys to have a sexual affair with him. This infuriates Dr. Flint and he quickly fixates over the thought of contravening her unruly spirit. Flint never distinguishes that Linda is a human being who has feelings, unamenable rights and desires.
Cruelty of slaveholders
According to Jacobs, (270, Linda claims sympathy for women slaves for there is no law to defend her form violence, from insult, and even from death., which are all imposed by friends who possess the shape of men Instead, the slavery institution defends slaveholders form allegations of sexual violence and assault. If the slave was sexually assaulted, it wasn't an offense against her but an intrude on the property of her master, although it was always a master that attacked her. When her daughter was born, the heart of Linda became heavy since she was aware that slaverly was terrible for males, but was far much terrible for females (Linda, 77).
Women slaves were the most susceptible servants because they could do work in the field, take care of children of their masters, and most significantly reproduce slave populace, which became increasingly more significant after prohibition of slave imports in 1808.s For instance, when Benjamin, L indas uncle is sold, the slave trader stated that he could offer any price if the good looking young man was a female (Jacobs, 23).
Linda's moral character
Linda illustrates her strong moral trait in several ways. At an early and pre teen age, she was given similar things that children of the mistress were given. Her master taught her how to spell and read, which a privilege is since majority of slaves were not taught. Although she saw this as a fair thing, she still helped her family members because of their kindness toward her and she was also conscious that people needed to be treated with respect. Jacobs (65) argues that when Dr. Flint constantly called her harsh names and abused her, Linda she knew that it was not correct and felt that Flint was corrupting her as well as her pure mind, but she chose to remain silent for terror of her severe outcomes, even death. Linda continues leading her life, helping him together with his family, but knowing well that he was cruel and unjust.
Arrogance of slaveholders
It was extremely egotistical of slaveholders to tell the slaves brutal lies about the North. A slaveholder once told Linda one of the slaves who happened to be Linda's friend was in an awful shape and was pleading to be taken back to her master. Later on Linda discovered that this story was not true and this former slave did not have any wish of going back to slavery. Unfortunately, majority of slaves believes these stories and chose to the thought of protective slavery to hard freedom. Linda is appalled by the idea of really aspiring to return to slavery, even if the tales were true. Linda states that the slaves would start to recognize their personal capabilities, and wield themselves to be women and men (Garfield & Zafar, 43).
The dominant social issue of the book incidences in the Life of a slave girl is sexual harassment of slaves by their masters. Dr. Flint who is Linda's master requires her to do anything for him including a sexual relationship with her. However, Linda does not give in to his sexual demands because she wants to buy her freedom away from enslavement.
Jacobs, Harriet, & Yellin Jean. Incidents in the life of a slave girl: written by herself. Harvard, Harvard University Press, 2000.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. New York: Signet Classics, 2010.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave girl- Literary Touchstone Classic. Clayton: Prestwick House, 2006.
Garfield Deborah, & Zafar, Rafia. Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the life of a slave girl. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Brent, Linda. Incidents in the life of a slave girl. New York: Signet Classics, 2004.