The author's words reflect the authenticity of the book about not to awaken the sympathy of the readers but to focus an accurate reflection of the actual events which Linda Brent suffered. The narrative written by Linda Brent's reflects on the Incidents of her Life as a Slave Girl. This follows life from her birth in slavery in 1813 to her freedom in 1851. The narrative focuses on Linda's escape to freedom, as well as her struggle with the gender and social issues of slavery. The book was first published by herself in 1861. Her narrative stands as one of the best slave narratives in the company of Frederick Douglass's.
Lydia Maria edited the book; many assumed that she was the author of the book, but Jean Fagan cleared the air when he verified that work done was not fictitious and that Jacobs herself did it. For many years' critics and scholars actively challenged the veracity of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. In 1981, a scholar Jean Fagan Yellin provided evidence to support Jacobs's life and work that included wills, runaway advertisements, receipts from purchases, and floor plans of Molly Horn blow's house. The republication of an Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl was done in 1987, and the person credited for its editing was one Yelling. After then, Henry Louis Gates Jr. termed the effort made by the editors as a crowning achievement of the slavery encounters by the female gender.
In the narrative, Linda Brent, pseudonym and the author Harriet Jacobs assure the readers of the incredible events of her life right story. She also states that the main reason for her writing was not to gain sympathy but was to inform the free Northern women of the realities of slavery and in particular the poor conditions in which the slaved women lived. In consideration of the writer of the narrative taking the position of Linda Brent, Harriet Jacobs portrays a humble personality through a declaration as quoted in one of her quotes. She quoted that, "I preferred adding my testimony similar to that of the abler pen with the aim of convincing the people that live freely on what slavery truly means."
The thesis of the book is on Slavery and the sufferings that accompanied women in the past, and the author makes it come out through the narrative which begins with Linda's fondly shielded childhood in a small Southern town. She credits her early happiness to her mother and father and to the experience of living with her first mistress, the lady charged with the role of offering supervision to the servants. Linda notes, "The days were marked by happiness, a happiness which was too immense to last." At the age of eleven, she had to subject to the mistresses' niece by the name Emily. The reason was based on Emily being a child and was controlled by her parents one Dr. and Mrs. Flint. This came even as Linda had never dreamt of being a piece of merchandise. It was her life with Flint which began her induction into the world of cruel slavery.
It is noted in the book that after the passing away of Linda's father, the sole financial and emotional provider became Martha. The step was aimed at reducing the pain with the provision of a better environment and good spirits during the dark times. Linda who is the protagonist and her brother William were equally inspired by the rebellious spirit of Benjamin which terrified the mother. Benjamin is opined to have existed as a brother to Linda and was imprisoned immediately after fleeing. Immediately Linda reached the age of 15, Dr. Flint, the antagonist, began making sexual advances to her hence contributing to her mind being mirrored as obscene. Linda comes to a conclusion of retaliation towards Dr. Flint through the romantic relationship between her and Mr. Sands. The subsequent events see her revealing to Dr. Flint about her status of being pregnant when requested to move to the little cottage. She is, therefore, banished by Mrs. Flint but the situation does not prevent Mr. Flint from still pursuing her. She later gives birth to Benny, but shortly afterward, the slaveholders are depicted to take control of the town as a response to the rebellion in Virginia by the Nat Turner. At least fifty whites were killed in that rebellion. Dr. Flint also became more violent towards Linda as she gives birth to a second son called Ellen with Mr. Sands. Life in the plantation as a concubine also became difficult following an ultimatum by Flint hence her choice of the ranch. Linda later flees after realizing Flint's plan of bringing Benny and Ellen to the plantation thus the genesis of severe complications. She also begins the dodging game by her pursuers in swamps and goes ahead to hide in the shelter of Martha and proceeds to drill a hole with the aim of looking at the street for glimpses on her two sons and fresh sunlight and air. After nearly seven years, a friend secures passage on a vessel to Philadelphia. Soon Linda travels to New York, where she meets the Bruce and works various jobs to ensure her children get educated.
It is important to note that the narrator uses the sufferings Linda was subjected to by the Flints in bringing out the thesis more precisely. The experiences provided were common amongst many slaves in many parts of the world. Therefore, the author's choice of such issues and other choices like sexual advancement and the brutal measures towards Linda helped in making the theme clearer and sensible.
For many years' critics and scholars actively challenged the veracity of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. In 1981 scholar Jean Fagan Yellin provided evidence to support Jacobs's life and work that included wills, runaway advertisements, receipts from purchases, and floor plans of Molly. Personally, I liked the book because it defended the rights of women that were being mistreated in the plantation farms. She goes further to mention that her main objective for her writing the narrative was not to gain sympathy but was to inform the free Northern women of the realities of slavery and in particular the poor conditions in which the slaved women live. The author of the book also demonstrates some sense of humanity and love because after she was done writing the book, she went back to assist those whom she had left behind during captivity. The narrative, in general, describes how we should live with our neighbors and care for them. This character was demonstrated by Jacobs during the war when she aided the black immigrants behind the union lines and cared for African American soldiers. I also agree with the conclusion based on the depiction of a white abolitionist and a black antislavery writer. The drawn images light at last.
The book also supported what I read in class about the dark moments which slaves went through in the hands of their colonial masters. For example, the narration of Linda and Dr. Flint's case. It is also worth noting that I did not detect any biases from the author's side but support the views of author academicians as was noted in the first part of the work. I, therefore, enjoyed reading the book because it is not just literary but historical. It serves as an eye opener of the past with specific concern on Linda's narrative. I would personally recommend the book to some of my friends as it reflects on our modern way of life. For instance, things that many a time happens in our daily lives such as corruption. Linda explains that bribery is a vice that must be condemned in our society today because it ruins and degrades our values in the modern world.
In summary, the author of the narrative, Harriet Jacobs, says we should all stand together as one and defend our rights. She further states that matters of corruption degrade our values in the society because it promotes vices that encourage capitalism among the members of a given nation or community. She also shows in her book that women should be given a chance to show what they are capable of doing to bring about equality among all members of a given society. She also advised that we should never always trust our neighbors and give them the support they require in case they need our help.
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