Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl The feminist movement wanted to gain rights for women. Many feminist during the early nineteenth century fought for the abolition of slavery around the world. The slave story became a powerful feminist tool in the nineteenth century. Black and white women are fictionalized and objectified in the slave story. White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and virtuous while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl brought the sexual oppression of captive black women into the public and political arena.

Harriet Jacobs takes a great risk writing her trials as a house servant in the south and a fugitive in the north. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gives a true account of the brutality slavery held for women. A perspective that was relatively secretive during Jacobs' time.

Jacobs' sequence of events focuses on suppression due to race but it also portrays many women as strong and often open roles. Women in these roles were negligible and often suffered for their outspoken roles.

Harriet Jacobs' story is a powerful statement unveiling the impossibility and undesirability of achieving the ideal put forward by men and maintained by women. Jacobs directs her account of hardships that a woman is subjected to in the chain of slavery to women of the north to gain sympathy for their sisters that were enslaved in the south. In showing this, Jacobs reveals the danger of such women maintained by accepting the idealized role that men have set a goal for which to strive. She suggests that slave women be judged by different standards than those applied to other women. Jacobs develops a moral code that judges the specific social...



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