Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Essays

An intriguing question arises immediately when considering Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Why did Jacobs use pseudonyms for herself and other historical people? Why would she choose to distance herself in this way from her own autobiography, especially considering that slave narrative, as a genre, builds upon the authority of the speaker’s own experience to pose a direct political challenge to slavery?

One obvious reason would be as a protective device. Jacobs, like other slave-narrative authors, may have chosen to mask the historical identity of her family in order to protect their privacy and the safety of those slaves still bound in her former community. Like other slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl provides only sketchy details of its protagonist’s actual escape and refrains from naming many of her accomplices. This also, no doubt, stems from a desire to protect them. The fact that Jacobs does not name the actual Dr. Flint and his family can be understood as a tactic to prevent more violence or abuse by them toward members of her family or her former friends in Edenton, North Carolina, the actual community of her birth and the location of the early portions of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

There is another possible explanation for Jacobs’s decision to use pseudonyms, however, and this reason gets to some of the unique characteristics of the book as autobiography and as slave narrative. Harriet Jacobs directly confronts the sexual abuse that constantly confronted many female slaves. She offers herself as “evidence” in this sense, but she does so through her own voice and in her own terms. Her terms in this case include an apparent psychological and emotional ambivalence about her own actions in response to this abuse. Ultimately, she makes a clear claim for the legitimacy of her choices given the continued threat of rape by Flint. Jacobs challenges the moral absolutism of her readers, and perhaps of herself, by clearly presenting the context within which her seemingly immoral choice to have children with Sands is made. Lacking the legal options of marriage and the freedom to control her own life, she does her best to protect herself and her children. It...

(The entire section is 921 words.)

+ All Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Essays:

  • Comparative Evaluation in Slave Life: Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass
  • Life Is Funny
  • What Is Incident Command System?
  • Frederick Douglass: Struggles of the American Slaves
  • A Comparison of Violence in Living Jim Crow, Incident, and Blood burning moon
  • Discussion Questions: Critical Incidents
  • American Dream in Song of Solomon, Narrative Frederick Douglass, Life of a Slave Girl, and Push
  • The Institution of Slave Trade
  • Machiavelli and Gossip Girl
  • The Life of Slaves in 1850
  • The History of Slave Music and its Impact on Modern Music
  • Teenage Girls and Media
  • Critical Incident Manual and Protocol for Fire Management
  • Finding Meaning in For Color Girls
  • Red Scarf Girl Essay
  • Some Girl(s): A Ttragic comedy
  • Girl interrupted
  • Three Girls Midterm
  • Literary Analysis: Slave Narratives
  • The Slave Trade Route between Africa and North America
  • Life at a Medieval University
  • The Corfu Incident and the League of Nations
  • Girl Interrupted
  • Petition of Slaves
  • 12 Years a Slave Essay
  • The Struggle for Self-Definition in Boys and Girls by Alice Munro
  • Struggle for Independence in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “An American Slave”
  • Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Celia, a Slave Book Review
  • The Virginia Tech Incident: Developing Hindsight to Prevent Future Incidents
  • Curious Incident of the Dog
  • Malala Yousafzai "The Girl with a Voice"
  • The Women of "For Colored Girls"
  • The Influence of Religion in Phillis Wheatley's Life
  • The Slave Community
  • Kindred: Through The Eyes Of A Slave
  • Dehumanization in Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup
  • Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl
  • Adolescent Girls at Risk
  • The Life and Times of Lucille Ball
  • The Development and Applications of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
  • Gibson Girl versus Flapper Girl
  • Slave Religion Research Paper
  • The Roswell Incident
  • Twelve Years a Slave
  • Teenage Girls in Society
  • Trans Atlantic Slave Trade
  • A Wonderful Girl with a Wonderful Heart
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets
  • Spartacus and the Slave Wars
  • Racism in Song of Solomon, Push and Life of Olaudah Equiano
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs
  • Marxists Analysis Working Girl
  • Slave Trade in 1807
  • Summary of Patricia Smith's 'What It's Like to Be a Black Girl'
  • The Affect Slavery Has On Family Life
  • Organizational Behavior - What Are the Sources of Conflict for These Conflict Incidents
  • Short Story: The New Girl
  • Comparative Analysis of Slave Narratives
  • Diary of a Homeless Girl
  • Young Girls in Puberty Are Not Women
  • A Girl of Dreams
  • His Girl Friday, Double Idemnity
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night
  • The Personal Experience of Slaves in The Slave Narrative by Frederick Douglass and the Similarities of Ideas in Self-Reliance by Emerson
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • Critical Incident
  • Psychological Analysis of Girl Interupted
  • Jamaica Kincaid- Girl
  • Mean Girls
  • African Slave Trade
  • West African Slave Trade
  • Comparing Indentured Servants and Slaves
  • The Life and Times of Nero
  • Jacobs & Douglass: An Insight Into The Experience of The American Slave
  • Why Girls Become Strippers
  • Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl
  • Big Mouth Ugly Girl Summary
  • Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Critical Incident Scenario

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *