Theme Of Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an autobiographical work where the writer, Harriet Jacobs, recounts her tale of slavery and escape to the north. After having children by a man other than her master, Jacobs’s struggles to hold onto her children while at the same time obtain freedom from slavery. Jacobs’s story offers a glimpse into what slaves, especially slave women, had to live with. Her story shows that slave mothers experiences differed greatly from anyone else’s. Jacob’s story is defined by being a mother, and it serves as both a positive and negative role in her story.
“Why does the slave ever love? Why allow the tendrils of the heart to twine around objects which may at any moment be wrenched away by the hand of violence?”
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At one point in her story, Jacobs is finally reunited with her daughter after several years, but then must be separated from her again. It is at this point that she experiences, “feelings only a slave mother can experience.” Slave mothers constantly feared for the children, worrying for their safety and praying that they would not be taken away or sold. Since slaves were considered property, it was common for families to be town apart when all or some members of it were sold away. Jacobs explains early in her story how New Year’s Day was a significant time of year for all slaves. On this day it was common for slaves to be traded away or leased to others for the year. This meant that mothers faced the risk of losing some, if not all, of their children. Yet this fear did not stop mothers from loving their children or doing everything within their power to protect them. Jacob’s Grandmother is an example of a woman who worked tirelessly to protect the ones she loved. Throughout the story she attempts to buy Jacob’s to free her from her master. Jacobs herself cites her love for her children as her primary motivator for working so hard to bring them a brighter future, even if it meant sacrificing herself. During the years that she was hiding in her grandmother’s attic, Jacob’s ability to watch her children from hiding was a great source of joy that helped her to manage through all that time in confinement. As the narrative progresses, it is evident that Jacobs’s makes all of her decisions with her children’s lives in mind. After escaping to the north, she immediately looks for work, hoping to become self-sufficient in order to take in and care for her

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