Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

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Slavery has happened all over the world for hundreds of years. Bonding humans to humans is not a new concept. People sold other people into slavery as prisoners of war, to repay debts, or because of the color of their skin. In the Americas, humans were enslaved because of the color of their skin. These slaves would write narratives explaining their plight and situation in descriptive – often graphic – terms. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, by Harriet Jacobs, uses many rhetorical strategies to reveal the dangers that slaves face. These rhetorical strategies include metonymies, antitheses, and metaphors. Jacobs uses metonymies to highlight dangerous situations that female slaves often find themselves in. She explains …show more content…

Even in the Free States of the north, slaves were not always protected from the southern ideals of slavery and white supremacy. Many slaves felt that if they escaped to the north, they would live in poverty and didn’t think it “worth while to exchange slavery for such a hard kind of freedom” (Line 16). Living in slavery is hard enough with the constant abuses and subordination. Whether or not to flee slavery, where at least they had food, for poverty and the inability to provide for one’s self or one’s family must have been a very difficult choice to make. As well as having to deal with poverty, slaves might have to face “a northern man with southern principles” (Lines 45-46). As northern men were typically better educated than southern men, this statement means a well-educated slaveholder. Providing slaveholders with a good education means that the slaveholder is no longer ignorant and knows exactly what buttons to push. Both of these examples show very difficult situations for slaves to be in as well as difficult decision-making when trying to decide whether or not to …show more content…

Ignorance is a very dangerous concept during this time, as many people were ignorant of what was going on in the country around them. Jacobs first touches on this ignorance by saying “those heathen in our Christian land” (Line 18). She is talking about the ignorance of slaves to think that they were safer being brutalized every day than they would have been if they escaped. In Jacobs’ eyes, slaves needed to risk their lives and take the chance to escape instead of be content working and being whipped. She says that this ignorance makes slaves fear “the fierce bloodhounds of the South” (line 34). If slaves took the chance to escape, they could find out that the white men who hunted down the runaway slaves could be beaten and the slaves could still escape. If slaves had known that they could have beaten the slave-hunters and that they would have been safer had they escaped, many more lives could’ve been

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