Essay Women Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

824 Words Nov 8th, 2015 4 Pages
The novel Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl written by Harriet Jacobs is a true, firsthand account of slavery by the author herself. It gives valuable insight into ordeals faced by the author herself, but more widely, the experience of slave women as a whole. At the time this was first published, it was more valuable to have an account written by a slave rather than a story told by the outside, because it gives not only a more factual, detailed experience, but also it most likely to be taken more seriously coming from someone who experienced it directly, rather than an activist or anti-slavery proponent.
The novel in itself is unique due to the fact that Harriet Jacobs wrote it herself, “The ‘written by herself’ tag in the title, a convention of slave narratives that was meant to assert the literacy and authority of the slave narrator against the doubts of a skeptical audience” (p.5). As history records, the ability to read and write was not something many slave owners permitted their slaves to learn. Reading and writing gave slaves the ability to communicate and, more importantly, develop ideas of their own pertaining to freedom. In the introduction by the editor, it is explained that, “It will naturally excite surprise that a woman reared in slavery should be able to write so well. But circumstances will explain this. In the first place, nature endowed her with quick perceptions. Secondly, the mistress, with whom she lived till she was twelve years old, was a kind,…

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