harriet jacobs Essay

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Encumbrance of Women Harriet Jacobs writes a narrative about life as a slave and the hardships that she went through. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl exposes the physical and emotional abuses of slavery, especially on the female. Life was very hard for women at the time and she exposes the harsh reality of what these women went through. These women slaves experienced a more horrific and traumatic side of slavery then men. They were sexually exploited, they were psychologically confused to womanhood, and they had to endure the hardships of motherhood in very harsh conditions. It was a tough life, but Jacobs embraces her sense of morality of being an African American woman of the time and lets us know the hardships that she went through in this system. Jacobs, like many slave women, were sexually exploited by their white masters. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs was not necessarily sexually abused, but sexually mocked and manipulated. The constant reminder from her master, Dr. Flint, telling her that she was his property and that he could do whatever he wanted to her made her life unbearable. She was constantly sexually harassed by Dr. Flint and this made her uneasy and paranoid: My master met me at every turn, reminding me that I belonged to him, and swearing by heaven and earth that he would compel me to submit to him. If I went out for a breath of fresh air, after a day of unwearied toil, his footsteps dogged me. If I knelt by my mother's grave, his dark shadow fell on me even there (Jacobs, 19). This anxiety quickly filled Jacobs up and made it psychologically hard for her to expect or know what was going to happen to her. Such memories of Dr. Flint’s determination to make Jacobs his own made her furious. However, she defied his pursuits by taking risks that most slave girls would not have attempted, such as running away.

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