Slave Girl Reflection

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Before reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, I already had a clear understanding of the slave experience through reading other slave narratives and watching films about the topic, but never before have I read the slave experience from the perspective of a woman. After reading this book, I developed a deeper understanding of how slavery affected women differently than it affected men, and how slavery complicated the already difficult task of motherhood. For both Harriet and her grandmother, slavery was an extremely arduous obstacle that stood in the way of a healthy family dynamic. Both women went to extreme lengths to ensure that their children would be free and not have to suffer from the condition of slavery that they did. Harriet’s…show more content…
In addition to sacrificing her virtue for her children, Harriet spent seven years living in her grandmother 's attic to ensure the freedom of her and her children. She underwent extreme physical conditions to make sure that her children would be free. Harriet watched her children grow up a few feet away from her yet she had to sacrifice precious time with her children in order to guarantee their freedom, showing yet another sacrifice that Harriet had to make as the mother of a slave. Harriet also arranged to have her daughter Ellen sent to New York so she would be able to receive an education (123). Once she joined her daughter in New York, she spent most of the money that she earned from working for Mrs. Bruce on Ellen to make sure that she was taken care of properly (139), much like her own grandmother did for her at the beginning of the book, and I thought the fact that this came full-circle was very fascinating. Harriet continued to place her children’s needs before her own to give them the best possible life. She, unlike many slave women, had a happy ending: she was reunited with both of her children and they were both free, but many women did not experience the same ending that she did. Examples of these less fortunate endings are scattered throughout the narrative, detailing women whose children were stripped away from them, women who wished their children would die in order to escape the jaws of slavery, and women who lost their children to the awful institution of…show more content…
Throughout history, mothers have made countless sacrifices for their children, sacrifices that have sometimes cost the women their lives. Black women had to think about things that white women during this time period didn’t have to think about: the status of their children as a slave or as a free person. Because I had only read the slave experience from the story of a male, I was completely blind to the many and difficult sacrifices that women made for their children. I think that the only way a person can truly develop a detailed understanding of how slavery affected African Americans is by reading a story from a woman 's
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