Critical Analysis of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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The life of a slave woman is far more complex than that of a slave man, although understandably equal in hardships, the experience for a woman is incredibly different. The oppression that women have faced throughout their lives in the struggle to even be considered equal to men is more than evident in slavery, not only because they were thought of as lesser but in some ways many women actually believed it to be true. The experiences that Linda Brent, pseudonym for the author Harriet A. Jacobs, went through in her life story in Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl prove that the difficulties for slave women were more than significant in many different cases. For Linda Brent, her life had been a constant fight since she was six years old and looking back on it, she never saw that change over the years. When she found out she was giving birth to a baby girl, she couldn’t help but envision every single hardship, suffering and regret of her own for her daughter’s life too. Every bit of emotional anguish and grief she had felt throughout her lifetime as a slave was about to be passed on to her most prized possession, her daughter. Women who live and fight through slavery experience a different kind of life that only they themselves can imagine, and any mother who knows this could never hope for their child to go through the same agony they have endured, especially if it was going to be their daughter.

“When they told me that my new-born babe was a girl, my heart was heavier than it had ever been before. Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own (Jacobs 77).” Quoted by Linda Brent (Harriet A. Jacobs) in Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl, she describes one of the most important contributions to the literature of slavery and to me the one major theme that comes from this passage, understanding the emotional anguish of...