Analysis Of Douglass From Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

Superior Essays
Harriet Tubman once said, “I think slavery is the next thing to hell” (Tubman 30), and Douglass and Jacobs agree. Douglass’s Narrative of the Life and Jacobs’s From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl share horrifying memories from their slave lives, including but not limited to physical and mental violence and inhumane treatments from abominable masters. While both authors describe and endure both types of violence in their narratives, there are subtle differences due to different situations, genders, and perspectives. Douglass seems to be focused on enduring the various forms of violence for his own independence, while Jacobs battles gender stigmas and violent oppressions for not only herself, but also her children. Thus, Jacobs was more …show more content…
She claims that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own” (Jacobs 830). Although Jacobs does mention physical violence in her narrative, she centers her narrative on female damage from mental violence such as sexual oppression. Since men were considered the dominant gender during the slavery era, they were obligated to commit deplorable acts such as rape towards women. Jacobs had two negatives going against her, being a black woman, so she was subject to not only physical violence but also sexual oppression and rape. Slave owners also“never allowed his offspring by slaves to remain long in sight of himself and his wife” and thus she “shuddered at the sound of his footsteps and trembled within hearing of his voice” (828). While Douglass was seeking freedom for himself, Jacobs had to worry about her own children as well. No mother should ever be separated from their children, even if their children are the products of rape.
Today, in the era of freedom, we rely on slave memoirs to live vicariously through the eyes of survived slaves. However, slavery may have been even worse than we assume, as there were times when slavery was in times “too cruel to describe in words.” While at first Douglass’s narrative seemed graver as he directly emphasized slavery’s physical violence, Jacobs struggled just as much or even more as women were subject to sexual oppression and rape. In spite of that, both Douglass and Jacobs’s narratives show slavery’s extreme violence, ranging from brutal whippings to persecution and

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Slavery in America was full of atrocities and hardships for slaves. Although all slaves were subject to cruel treatment, women in particular were subject to punishment and treatment different than that of male slaves. Whether or not women received worse treatment, they were much more susceptible to sexual abuse. Harriet Jacobs argued that women were worse off than men during slavery. Although Jacobs probably refers to female slaves, it is important to look at both slaves and the women who owned slaves as well.…

    • 1751 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The women dealt with factors such as racism and sexism on a daily basis and saw no remorse from these men committing these acts of violence on them. She exclaims that women were given a false role, and they widely misrepresented in their life. These black women were trying so to keep the family afloat and together, and they were seen as arrogant. They were even said to be unhealthy towards black men due to their demand and order they would bark out towards their spouses. She exclaims that many sociologist and philosophies that report on black women slaves during the time make her furious.…

    • 1035 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Slaves were treated as property. However, the female slave faced harsher conditions compared to her male counterpart, as manuscripts detailing the slavery experiences in the antebellum south suggest. This essay seeks to elaborate how Harriet Jacobs focuses on her experiences as a female slave, rather than a slave who happens to be a slave and points out difficult the situation was for the female slaves compared…

    • 1562 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Melton A McLaurin discusses within “Celia, A Slave” that, “Modern research indicates that rape victims experience a variety of responses: fear, rage, an overpowering sense of violation, sometimes helplessness, and a loss of self-esteem.” (25). No doubt, Celia experienced these things at one time or another with just how often she was sexually abused. Comparing this with Douglass’s experience as a slave, he would have only experienced physical torture. While Douglass may not have experienced the same sexual abuse, the physical abuse most definitely took a mental toll on him. This is due to the fact that male slaves saw themselves being beaten as them being stripped of their integrity.…

    • 963 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The books, “The Life of Olaudah Equiano” and “The History of Mary Prince” give first-hand accounts of slavery and how it affected them physically and emotionally. Slavery is as abhorrent as its proponents. In these books one can see the contrast between African and European slavery and how they justify it, the illusion of freedom some slave owners instilled in their slaves and how the term inferiority is used by the different types of slave proponents. But past all of this we also see how slavery can deteriorate human being in a short period of time. African and European slavery are very distinct but they still hang on to the main idea of owning a human being.…

    • 955 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Not only was labor worse for men the punishments were meant to be harsher for them as well. Women had to deal with more emotional abuse rather than physical. While both were are very awful, men take the worst of it. For women the assault of slaveholders were something that men did not have to put up with when it came to punishments. While both men, and women dealt with awful treatment from slaveholders, there is a line between men and women that slaveholders…

    • 1151 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    That is, for Jacob, as a female slave, differed from Douglass who was a male slave. From Jacob 's perspective, “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women” (933). This implies that slavery is so humiliating for human being, but not the same degree. To put it differently, it is even much worse to be a female slave than a male slave. A female slave had to endure a hard circumstance, including sexual harassment, physical abuses, and the separation from children.…

    • 1051 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is sad to see the past that our country has. Slavery was and will always be a horrific act. Years moved on and some people forgot about those things that happened but some of the people left stories to tell and even some, wrote about their treatment and their lives as slaves. Linda Brent, the main character in ‘Incidents in The Life of a Slave Girl', tells her story being a slave and a runaway. The book comes full with the feel of desperation from the slave community and her most wanted idea that she wanted to pass to the reader was to show how desperate were they and that in the future you could unsupported slavery.…

    • 870 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    While weeping over her newborn child she stated that,“slavery is terrible for men; but is far more terrible for women.”(Jacobs). It wasn’t only men who were humiliated and treated unacceptably, women were susceptible also. These women suffered the brutalities and horrific treatment of slavery. Being used as “breeders”; being forced to have sexual intercourse with slave masters to fulfill their sexual desires or to “produce more slaves.” If children were conceived from this union, they would sometimes be sold to keep the dignity and pride of the of the slave master's’ wife, otherwise the wife would be faced with the harsh reality of seeing evidence of her husband’s lustful nature. And dare not a slave woman speak up about who the father of her child/children are, because of the consequences they would face.…

    • 1275 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is sad to see the past that our country has. Slavery was and will always be a horrific act. Linda Brent, the main character in ‘Incidents in The Life of a Slave Girl ', tells her story being a slave and a runaway. The book comes full with the feel of desperation from the slave community and the idea that she wanted mostly to transmit to the reader was to show how desperate they were and make consciousness of slavery and its effects. She suffered a lot, both being a slave and a runaway, but the main question is, was she suffered more from physical abuse or psychological abuse?…

    • 974 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays