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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1698

Essay

It was the labor conditions that drove the economics of slavery.  The was a time of exploding growth with cotton, agriculture, trading and labor.  The plantation owner was able to manufacture a working staff that did not take days off, that did not complain and they did not have to pay them.  The plantation owner could keep all the profit while building a fortune in the South. Slavery because a way of life for the Southerners to survive and compete in the business markets.  If the slaves lived in North, they would find homes, jobs, land, and opportunity but the North did not rely on slave labor to build their economy.  It is a fact that slavery was one of the era’s that help build the United States of America.  However, no one can deny the harsh treatment and families destroyed by this time of slavery.  It is no doubt that the inhuman conditions that slaves were force to endure was the most inhumane acts in history of the U.S.  These conditions were part of the labor force mentality.  The plantation owners understand that installing fear in slaves would make them docile and obedient while they made millions off their sweat and labor.  However, America could not have prospered without the slavery impact that made many Americans very wealthy.

The most incredible fact about slaves is their ability to live through slavery and remain faithful that God would change this hearts of white men to treat everyone equal.  However, having men and women slaves was big business because the plantation owners had ready-made labor forces to work the crops, cotton, or agriculture for zero pay.  Often the question is asked why did the slaves accept the cruel and vicious treatment without fighting back?  Harriet Jacobs provides some insight on how the slavery mentality was handed-down from generation to generation.  The plantation owners were creating their own population of slaves by allowing the slaves to have babies from other slaves but many of the children were from the rape and sexual abuse.  The readings of Jacobs will enlighten the reader about the type of instilled fears and brainwashing they experience for many years.

The literary works of author Harriet Ann Jacobs depict her life as a slave that was born into slavery in North Carolina.  Harriet Ann Jacobs wrote the first-hand accounts of slavery, after writing a letter to her friend a Quaker abolitionist Amy Post in the 1840s.  This autobiography is one the most prevalent female slave chronicles that gives profound accounts of Harriet’s decades of slavery.  The slave character Linda Brent who is Harriet Ann Jacobs provided one the most powerful portrayal of her sexual happenstances as a slave.  The book is extensive account of Harriet Ann Jacobs as a slave sharing disconcerting details about her sexual exploitation and how she used these atrocities to gain her freedom.  Many other books have given accounts of a women slave but this book was imaginative showing details about the life a women slave on a plantation.  One the surprising particulars about the black’s women plight in slavery were the incredibly explicit explanation about the treatment of black men.  Jacobs eloquently describe the black slaves struggles so vividly, it made the reader cringed concerning horrific treatment of male slaves. However, the slaves that did make out of the South lead good lives in the North but often more died that those that made the journey to the South.  This was a time that Harriet Tubman led thousands of slaves to the promised land of the North.  It was a federal law that slaves were consider property like a gun or horse or home.  This commodity made it difficult for the North and South to consolidate because the South was losing their way of life.

Jacobs describes the sexual abuse but in her words, the constant rapes at an early age that developed her character and wit.  Jacobs made it clear she was a mistress, concubine, whore, prostitute and streetwalker all rolled-up into one. The slave masters at whim delivered the sexual abuse in the most human way possible.  The white owners used intimidation to victimize and defeat any type of confidence of the slaves with house and field workers, mental and physiological and, psychological abuse.  The additional abuse in the plantation normally came from the wife because the slave owner had his pick of slaves to have sex.  Not only did the slaves have to figure out a way to survive the plantation owner but also avoid the wrath of the wife who could easily determine your fate.  Jacobs did an excellent job of answer the questions why slaves were so obedient because slaves were wrongly deprived of their most prized possessions in the world, the children, or the retribution to a family member.  Any resistance plans would result in the death of entire families, thus slaves abandon any time of uprising to save their own families from harm or being sold.

In historical archives of slavery, Harriet Jacobs “Incidents in Life of a Slave Girl” has become the voice of past speaking for thousands of slaves.  The book is not just a chronicle but also a journey share with every intimate detail that most would want to keep a secret.  Harriet Jacobs was never free because she was born a slave in North Carolina.  The book is a masterpiece that speaks to the heart and soul of any human being.  It took courage for Ann Jacobs to share those unforgettable details about her sexual abuse.  Jacobs found a way to heal her inner-self while telling the story of the atrocities and how she endured to gain her freedom.

The book talks about the courage of Jacobs to take a chance of running away from the plantation.  This incredible feat in the 1800s was not an easy because slavery had a network where whites would help find the missing slaves or assist with returning the missing slave back to the plantation owner.  In addition, many slaves that ran normally were maimed by cutting off a foot or leg to make them an example for the other slaves.  The name of the game was fear and the plantation owners played it only so well.  The only place that Jacobs to find solace and comfort is at her grandmother’s house.  Jacobs continues to show the power of her will to be free.  Jacobs spent over 7 years hiding in the house attic crawl space.  Just imagine a human being forced to live in an attic for years.  As result, Jacobs became permanently handi-cap because she was unable to sit or stand for years.

The interested fact about Harriett is her choice to use another character’s name, Linda Brent referring to herself.  This was a stroke of genius because Jacobs was able to open up because she was talking through the character.  This book was not just about exposing the terrible events of slavery, but as a healing tool for Jacobs to release all the demons into this book.  Jacobs shares that as a child she was oblivious to slavery until the plantation masters wife died.  At the tender age of six Jacobs was fast tracked into the world of sexual abuse.  Jacobs discussed have a child but not in a happy way because she felt sorrow that she brought a baby girl in this world to suffer the same cruel treatment.  At this moment in the book, Jacobs pulled in every mother’s instinct to protect their child but she was unable to keep her daughter from the life of a slave.  Towards the end of the book, you could feel all the emotional hurt Jacobs feels during her lifetime before and after slavery.  Jacobs showed that a woman slave that endured those years of abuse still could grow to have a life and leave the pain of slavery behind but the scars will never heal.  Jacobs was a true hero that deserves the Medal of Honor for never giving hope and never losing the faith against insurmountable odds.  Jacobs will go down in literary history as a talent writer that confronted the slavery injustice while weaving her own place in the American literary history.

Harriet Jacobs’s autobiography is one the most descriptive and bold books of the 1800s.  During that period, it was the most widely sought book to read by women.  Jacobs open her heart and mind to the world to look inside her soul to experience the realistic realities of slavery for men and women.  It is one thing to share your life but to share your worst moments of sexual abuse but with dignity was brilliantly done by Jacobs.  The difference between other article, books, and journals that discussed the plight of slavery was Jacobs told the story from the perspective of slave women not a man.  The book shares how a slave took the only thing she had, her sexuality to outsmart and control her environment.  In reality, women slaves ended up exploiting the plantation master, which gave the women some power.  We must remember that this was during the 1800s, when Jacobs wrote this book was a dangerous time, because she was exposing some many horrors of plantation owners.  If she had been found they would have killed her in the South.

Jacobs clearly appealed to the more progressive women of the north that emphasize with the women who lived in sexual bondage.  The book was consistent in its delivery of the focus on the importance of keeping the family strong and motherhood.  She provides intimate details of the grandmother hiding her for years that left her with a scar for life: disable for the hiding in the attic.  Jacobs single handedly awaken the women of the world by telling the truth on the big stage.  The literary world was taken by surprised because the husbands of the world had to hear the women activist and abolitionist spread the word of the treatment of all women.  In a way, Jacobs’s books started a new women’s movement to treat women equal partners instead of sheet warmers for the winter evenings.  This was clearly a time in history that women took charge of their own futures.

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