Essay Sample on Sojourner Truth: Strong despite Circumstances

Published: 2022-12-09
Essay Sample on Sojourner Truth: Strong despite Circumstances
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Slavery Christianity American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1435 words
12 min read

Sojourner Truth is among one of the most influential women of her time. Her story is one of the most moving stories about omen that defied the odds to become one of the leading orators in the world. Despite being unable to read or write, she was able to write her autobiography, Sojourner Truth: Strong despite Circumstances, that became an inspiration to millions of people all over the world. In this paper, I will analyze the life of Sojourner from when she was a slave to when she was freed and look at how religion played a role in her life.

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Agency is the ability of a person to demonstrate free will in their actions and judgment. While still a slave, Isabella demonstrated that she was able to make her own decisions devoid of her masters in several scenarios. The first is when she fell in love with Robert, a slave from another ranch. Isabella and Robert meet and fall in love. When Robert's masters realize that he is in love with Isabella, they forbid it. However, the two of them continue seeing each other in secrecy despite the consequences that they might have suffered if their masters realized that they were still in love. Another place where Isabella demonstrates agency is when she decides to flee from her masters. Isabella had been promised freedom if she worked hard for some time. On the date that she was supposed to receive her freedom papers, her masters went back on her promise. Because of this, she decided to flee from slavery and become a free woman. She sets out early in the morning before anyone is up only to realize later that she had not thought about the escape thoroughly. She did not know where to go after she had escaped from her enslavers. She then makes another decision to go to the house of Levi Rowe who she thought he would befriend her. These actions show that Isabella had agency in her actions (Gilbert, 1850, p7-8).

Isabella continued to show that her actions were out of free will even after she was a free woman despite the marginalization of black people and women. One of the most notable places that she demonstrated this was when she made up her mind to sue for her son. When she was still a slave, Isabella had a son who was taken from her and sold outside the state. According to the law, it was illegal to sell slaves to different states. She went to court against a white man who had taken her son. She won the case, and apart from being reunited with her son, she was paid for the damages and emotional torture that she suffered. Another depiction of free will is when she gets baptized. Isabella was a Cristian because her mother was a Christian. She had been introduced to Christianity at an early age, and she stuck to the religion all through to her adult life. After she was freed, one of the first things that she did was to bet baptized and to be called Sojourner Truth. Getting baptized was a decision that she made by herself without influence from anyone.

Sojourner defied the gender norms and gender standards at the time in different parts of the book. The first case was immediately when she was freed, and she went to court to get custody of her son. Back then, women, especially black women, were considered people of very low caliber and they were discriminated against in different sectors. Many black women had to remain slaves because they could not get jobs as they lacked education. Sojourner was different and decided that instead of complaining that she did not have her son she decided to do something about it and go to court. She became the first black woman to win a case against a white man. Another place that she defied gender norms was when she spoke in rallies and different functions advocating for equal rights for all. During this time, women were supposed to be docile and submissive to a man. Sojourner defied this norm and became outspoken in matters affecting women and black people in general. Despite not knowing how to read and write, she was a good orator and is considered one of the influential people that pushed for women right (Gilbert, 1850, p9-10).

Sojourner was a very religious woman. She was a staunch Christian, a religion that she had adopted because her mother was a Christian. Sojourner's religion was one of the things that she was able to hold on during dark times in her enslavement. Prayer was especially useful to her when she was undergoing trials. In one place in the book, she talks of how her master had taken her, tied her up and beat her up until blood was streaming from her wounds. During this torture, all she could think of is the instruction from her mother to pray whenever she was faced with trials and tribulations. At the time, she thought that God only heard the prayers that one said out aloud and paying aloud was the only way to pray. After this, she went to pray for God to protect her from the persecution and torture that she suffered from her masters. Another instance of how prayer and religion helped her to overcome was when she prayed to God to send her father. She prayed that her father could come to the farm that she was in so he could convince her master to sell her to a better slave owner. Her prayer comes true, and her father comes. This helps her to believe more in the presence and ability of her religion to protect her from torture and mistreatment from her masters.

In the years when she was a free woman, Sojourner became such a religious woman that she began to teach religion to people. This act of teaching people about religion opened her to multiple opportunities that she would never have had if she had remained as a poorly paid servant. One of these opportunities was when she met William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Sojourner was working as an itinerant preacher when she met the two. They were abolitionists that were at the forefront of the fight to end slavery. Garrison had an organization that toured places giving speeches against slavery. He encouraged sojourner to join them and speak in these rallies. Through this meeting, she went on to speak to millions of people on the evils of slavery and what the bible says about the oppression of other human beings. It was during these tours and speeches that she met Olive Gilbert who helped her write her autobiography as she could not read or write. She then started to lecture about women rights and the importance of having these right. It is from this that the famous Ain's I a Woman speech emerged. Her religion and her staunch religious beliefs are what led her to travel and speak to millions of people. This is an opportunity that she would never have got were it not for her religion and faith (Gilbert, 1850, p15).

What I was impressed most about is that she kept her faith even when she was put through a lot of torture and mistreatment. The fact that all she had to hold on to in this tough time was her faith is really impressive. Furthermore, she did not feel sorry for herself and kept working hard even after she was freed. She went on to become one of the most influential women of her time.

It is clear that Sojourner Truth is a strong woman both a religiously and politically. She rose from being a slave where she was subjected to some of the cruelest acts that a person can be subjected to. All she had to give her hope during this time is her faith and religion. She was deceived severally by her masters and promised freedom. She escaped and managed to successfully sue for custody of her son who had been sold to a deferent state. She becomes a preacher, and new opportunities open up for her. She went on to tour the country and spoke about slavery and women rights. Sojourner is a true hero of her time who rose from poverty to become one of the most iconic women in the history of the United States.

Work Cited

Gilbert, Olive. (1850) Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Bondswoman of Olden Time, with a History of Her Labors and Correspondence Drawn from Her Book of Life.

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