Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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The book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by Harriet Jacobs, takes place in the southern state of North Carolina in the United States during the 19th century. The book is a narrative painful story of her life. She was a black girl born as a slave and therefore, she was condemned to a life of suffering and injustice. Harriet Jacobs narrates the situations she had to go through in order to pursuit her freedom. She explains how slaves suffered when being denied basic human rights and legal protection, how female slaves suffered from sexual harassment and the feeling of responsibility towards her family, particularly her children. She points out, with her personal experiences, that the psychological abuses of slavery were more devastating than its physical abuses. Jacobs was not a slave of always being beat and doing hard labor, but she was a slave that was denied of her basic human rights. Black slave women’s rights were non-existent. They could not have a legal marriage, they were frequently forced to sleep with the masters they despise, and their families were torn apart, with their children sold to a place far away from them. She states that “she would rather be a desperately poor English farm laborer than a “pampered” slave.”(34) With this statement, she points out that mental abuse was as devastating as or even worse than physical abuse. She emphasizes that whether or not they were beaten, starved, or made to work in the fields, all female slaves suffered horrible mental tortures such as sexual harassment and the loss of their children. Usually women were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by their masters. “He told me I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things. My soul revolted against the mean tyranny. But where could I turn for protection?” (30) Most slave masters viewed slaves as animals or objects, and they
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