The Period of Slavery in the “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs Analytical Essay

There is plenty that can be said about the issues that were concerned with slavery, but the truth remains a bitter pill to swallow. The book shows the struggles that slaves underwent during the period of slavery. This was more so for the women who were involved and worked as slaves. The workers endured difficult times during slavery due to the stigma that was in the air, regarding what was considered the lower castes.


We will write a custom Essay on The Period of Slavery in the “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs specifically for you

for only



Learn More

The book shows that there was a lot of ignorance in the course of the period of slavery. This may be described better in many situations in the book. Most of the situations that were depicted showed one such situation was when one character in the book lent out money in the range of three hundred dollars to her owner.

It was well known that slaves had no right to any property and thus the money did not count as hers. The money was lent out on the basis of pure honor (Jacobs 13). The borrower had no obligation to pay back the money.

The sexual abuse and assault that the slave women endured under the hands of their masters was another degradation that they knew they would do nothing about. This was due to the fact that they were wholly owned by their masters, and had nowhere to go when such incidences as rape occurred. The masters were well aware of the situation that the slaves were in and they took full advantage of the situation.

They were also aware that the salves were ignorant and they could take advantage of their weaknesses. The book states that the author had to befriend a neighbor in order to try and protect herself from her owner who decided to seduce and threaten her, rather than rape her, although he would have done so eventually.

The fact that she did what she was avoiding to do with her neighbor describes the levels of desperation that the slaves experienced, and it goes to show that they were ready to go to great extents in order to ensure that they were not violated.

Hiding in the attic for around seven years and only seeing her children through a peep hole in the wall, in order to avoid meeting her master who intended to make her his lover ,is quite enough proof that the slaves would stretch their imaginations just to get a sense of freedom.


Looking for a paper on Literature ? Let’s see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF

Learn More

It was a really trying time for the slaves as they were bound by laws that forced them to stay in the places that they had been sold. These laws stated that an owner could do whatever they pleased with the slaves that he or she had bought or paid money for from a trader.

The twists and tales of the script speak volumes about the lives that the slaves underwent. The main character endeavors to bring her family sired by the neighbor together. Her children are torn apart and they are forced to live in different places although at some point they keep getting back together.

This depicts a true sense of commitment that the slaves had towards their families. It is a natural instinct that is in-built in people that is exuded in situations that seem or appear to be tearing them apart.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the life of a slave girl , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1861. Print.