Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – The Experiences and Concerns of a Bondwoman

  • M Sumathy Full-Time Ph.D. Research Scholar, Research Department of English, Sadakathullah Appa College, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
  • K Shanmuga Sundara Raj Assistant Professor & Research Supervisor, Department of English, Government Arts & Science College, Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu, India
Keywords: Women in Black History, Slavery, Cruel Master, Jealousy Mistress, Experiences, Concerns, Motherhood, Escape, Bondage, Emancipation


“Slavery is terrible for men, but it is far more terrible for women” (Harriet Jacobs 48) From the words of Harriet Jacobs, it is clear that slavery seems to be a perilous passage in the slave girl’s life, full of struggles and concerns. Incidents in the life of a slave girl by Harriet Jacobs is a complex, contemptuous and often brilliant description of the disintegration of black people’s familial relationship and the resistance of the black female against her cruel master. It was one among the first fictional works by a black woman to focus directly on the bitter faces of slavery. Because of its truthfulness, and liveliness, it has become much more evident for the ill effects of slavery. As it has more openly explored the cruelty of the individual slaveowner in the woman point of perspective, it received more attention, appreciation, condemnation altogether. It tried to expose the violent interaction of the cruel masters over the black females and portrayed them as oppressors of black women. When a black woman writes about the incest, rape, sexual violence, and abuse committed by the slave owners against the black females of all ages, it was very much criticised. This article tries to analyze the various experiences of Harriet Jacobs as a bonded woman in slavery and the concerns which motivated her to escape slavery.

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