Critical Response on Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass
Both Douglass and Jacobs were inspirational icons for the African-Americans in American history. Their contributions to the abolition of slavery and liberalism of the African-American race in the U.S. are very notable and important too; not only for honor but also important to American literature. They both lived during the period of the Antebellum (1820 - 1865) when the abolition of slave trade was a big issue in the country. At this time, most writers were writing on the subject of slavery. The works of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave respectively, were narratives of their lives giving details of their experiences as slaves. Their narratives point out their intentions, thoughts, actions and feelings during this time. They give critical accounts of the kinds of conditions in which they lived as slaves. Harriet Jacobs was a slave girl who lost her mother at a very early age. Since then she lived in her master’s house until adulthood. Her reactions to her own experiences as a slave girl (in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl) show her hatred for slavery and her immense dislike for people that involved themselves in this malpractice. Jacobs saw slavery as dehumanizing. In the seventh chapter of her narrative, The Lover, Jacobs expresses her hatred for her slave master who deprived her of her right to love and be loved as a human. From this chapter we see that slave owners were wicked people who took advantage of the weakness of the black race and treated them as lower class creatures that did not deserve any good treatment from the whites. Besides ill treatment, slaves could not be sure of their “tomorrow,” as they could be bought up at any time from one slave owner to the other. This continuous movement from one owner to the other shows that slaves could not be sure of their happiness and in...
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