Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Summary

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Sophia Pruett
January 20th, 2017
The Liberation ‘Vacation’
During the time of slavery, African-Americans lived their day to day lives being treated as animals as they worked long hours. Their white masters felt a sense of power over them, and made the slaves feel as if they were lesser and inferior whites. Harriet Jacobs being a slave herself writes of her experiences being owned by a master and her personal anecdotes of slave masters trying to make slavery sound like the best option compared to living in poverty as a free slave. In chapter eight of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs uses Sentimentalism and simple language to prove that having freedom is better than being held as a slave, regardless of the conditions. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a Sentimentalist story, and Jacobs uses this form of literature in order to get her point across. Sentimentalism is the emphasis on one’s feelings and emotions. Rather than focusing on reasoning, Sentimentalism prioritizes how one remembers and responds to specific situations emotionally. Throughout chapter eight, Jacobs discusses the way slaveholders want their slaves to believe they are better off staying in slavery than living as a free slave in the North. She writes of her own slaveholder telling her of a time when he sees a free runaway slave in the North living in dire poverty. He claims she was “dying of starvation” and how decided not to bring her back to her original slaveholder

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