Review Of The Book “Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl” By Harriet Jacobs

Harriet Jacobs’s escape from slavery is her most famous achievement. She was born in Edenton in North Carolina in 1813. While she was a girl, she experienced sexual abuse. She managed to escape. She became a renowned author in 1861, thanks to her experiences. The fact that she was both a female and black was notable at the period. This was one of the fewer narratives ever written. She advocated for the civil rights of blacks in America, becoming abolitionist speakers, social workers, and educators. She was the child of Elijah Knox & Delilah Jacobs. Joseph & Louisa Matilda Jacobs were her children. Harriet’s childhood was filled with happy moments spent with family and friends. Her mother’s lover also helped her raise Harriet after her mother died. Most of Harriet’s childhood was marked by slavery. Her mother’s mistress introduced her to religion. Harriet learned God’s precepts from her. Later on, Harriet passed away in Washington DC after a struggle and an escape.

Harriet’s childhood was a happy one, filled with family, friends, and love. After six years, she only learned the truth. He was a master carpenter who also worked as an enslaved. He was once the chief worker because of his intelligence and skills. Harriet was deeply affected by his fatherly love, and the hope that they would one day be free. The father had to provide for the family, and also pay 200 dollars each month to his mistress. He put in a lot of effort to get his family back. She never saw herself as a product, given how much she was loved and shielded by her family. She also valued her maternal grandmother who had a profound influence on her life. Her intelligence increased as she aged. She baked crackers at the mistress’s permission for the children. Her popularity grew in the neighbourhood and people began asking her for cooking services. Later, they established a company that would pay for their freedom. Benjamin, Harriet’s brother, was also sold into slavery at a young age. Harriet was treated well by her mistress, who often allowed her to play like a child. She would jump and run outside while gathering berries. Fanny, her friend who was also a slave girl, died when she was young. She had a happy childhood with the mistress, who taught her to read and write.

Dr. Flint took her into a different household. Her brother was also sold to the same family, as is common for slaves. The first thing she noticed about her new environment was the coldness of the words and looks. He would moan and weep in bed by himself. Dr. Flint did not care what slaves ate, or even if they were there. He was a cruel personification; he made the slaves suffer for even the smallest of mistakes. If Dr. Flint’s will isn’t met, he will sell his slaves to a trader who will torture them further. Harriet refused to listen, despite his repeated attempts at coaxing or whispering in her ears. Harriet’s cottage was built far from the house of his family in order to prevent her wife from suspecting anything. The master violently revoked her pea that she would marry a black man. She even conceived for a black lawyer in order to sell her. Her efforts failed as she wasn’t sold. He harassed and threatened her constantly, planning to make them work on the plantations. She escaped at this point and lived with her black and white neighbors. She became more miserable and thought that slavery was harder on women than it was for men. She denied her baby but lived in terrible conditions. In her dimly lit, unventilated room, mice and rats crawled onto her.

She used her motherhood and seven years of hiding as part of her strategy to escape from slavery. She lived in a crawlspace for seven long years, and came out only at night. She hides herself in her grandma’s house while her master is away. All of these circumstances give her the chance to escape. It allows her to imagine the resistance and locate it. Peter, Harriet’s close friend, helps her escape from hiding after many years. After seven years of hiding, Harriet’s hideout is often ravaged by storms. It has fallen apart. After seven years, her hideout is in ruins and often gets soaked with rainstorms. To find freedom, she must endure the treacherous journey from Philadelphia. She meets new people here, including a slave named Fanny, the Captain, and his crew. They become her closest allies.

Harriet has lived a life that is heavily influenced by Nat Turner’s rebellious actions. Conflicting views exist about morality and brothers. She was taught that Christian doctrine is about love and brotherhood. However, after witnessing the violent behavior of people who call themselves Christians and their amoral behaviors, her perspective changed. She discusses here the problems faced by the black population. Slavery, illegal searches and lawlessness are rampant. The blacks were terrorized. They were viewed as rebels. She is beginning to see the conflict between religion and what society wants. She explains the differences between Christianity and religion, and between blacks and whites. The black spirituality was rooted more deeply in Africa. This contrasts with the hypocrisy of whites who try to denounce the African religions. She shows that the whites believed their culture to be inferior.

Harriet’s experience as a slav is a clear example of slavery being cruel. Other races use, degrade and demoralize people to the point of complete inferiority. Slavery is a very difficult situation, especially if you are a female and your master manipulates you to perform his sexual will. The risk is high because there is no one protecting them. The ransacking and selling of slaves’ cabins is also a factor.

This book contains a fascinating piece of history which we can’t ignore. Slavery happened and people suffered from various effects. The slave trade not only demoralized its victims, but also planted hatred in their hearts that eventually led to the rise of racism. The book portrays the grim reality of past events. It also offers hope, as slavery was finally banned and the efforts of freedom fighters were rewarded. The book is suitable for both adults and children, as it contains facts and gives motivation to keep hope when things seem blurry.


  • davidwong

    David Wong is a 29-year-old educator and blogger who focuses on helping students learn in creative and interesting ways. He has a background in teaching and has been blogging since 2006. David's work has been featured on a variety of websites, including Lifehack, Dumb Little Man, and The Huffington Post.