Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Research Paper

1562 Words 7 Pages
How sexual exploitation made slavery especially oppressive for women
The time of human slavery is long gone, but the effect of slavery still haunts the human society today. 17th, 18th and 19th century were crucial times in human history with regard to slavery. Much has been discussed regarding this topic of slavery but little has been discussed regarding the sexual exploitation which made slavery oppressive to women. Harriet Jacob’s book captures the oppressive slavery which women were subjected to from a rare perspective. According to Fischer, “There were indeed various forms of slavery women were subjected to for instance binary oppression, mammy and Jezebelism” (Fischer 248). Mammism involved the enslavement of women to serve as home attendants,
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Jacob’s narrative captures the way sexual abuses were used to oppress the slave women, and the implications it had on them. This paper will explore the topic of slavery from the perspective taken by Harriet Jacob in her book, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," and also, explore the main themes covered by Jacob in her book, for instance, sexual exploitation and its consequences to women among other topics. More important, this research paper will demystify some crucial elements from a slavery period, and explain why some stereotypical notions from 17th, 18th, and 19th century still follow the human society up to date. Important to this research paper is the issue of sexual exploitation in the current world, and why it is still manifest. There is over sexualize of women in the electronic media nowadays, and it seems no one has a problem with it; therefore, this paper will explore the topic in relation to the point of view taken by Harriet in her …show more content…
According to a wide literature on this topic, women slaves were at times made to serve as mammies. This was a kind of enslavement, which seemed lenient from the outlook, but it was brutal like any other form of enslavement. A mammy was expected to serve their masters at home, and they were specifically expected to look like their master’s through a dress code as well as etiquette. Refusal or failure to live up to this expectation, the mammies would be threatened through rape or related abuse. At the end of Jacob’s narrative, “Incidents," the main character, Linda says that she is still waiting to have her dream, that of creating a home for her family. Clearly, the desire for a safe home is manifest throughout the book, and thus reflecting the curse of domesticity that was the case with white female readers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nudelman stated, “She alternately describes herself as a victim of circumstance, pleading for pity and assistance, and as a discerning actor who exercises significant control over nearly impossible condition. Employing well-tried sentimental forms to apologize for her sexual demise, Jacobs implicitly endorses the shared value of sexual purity as the grounds for communication with her genteel audience” (Nudelman). In the narrative, Jacob engaged her audience with the tone and language which attracted sympathy that she is a victim. In her narrative, she focuses on

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