Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Assignment
1. Describe how Linda Brent (Harriet Jacobs) became fully aware of her slave status.
Brent was born a slave, but she never fully knew until she reached the age of six. When Brent’s parents were alive, she was so loved and cared for by them that she never thought she would be considered a piece of property. Brent’s father was a very valuable slave because he was skillful. He had money and hoped to purchase his children but he was never able to. When Brent’s mother died when she was six, many others talked and that led to Brent realizing that she was a slave. Although her mother’s mistress took Brent and her brother into her care for they ...view middle of the document...
Most slave masters viewed slaves as “objects”. They never acknowledged their humanity. Even “kind” slave holders, such as Mr. Sands, show how selfish they were. When their slaves thought they could put their full trust in their owners, is when the slave owner felt it convenient or profitable. But when it comes to the relationship between Brent and her Massa… things were very much more difficult to understand.
3. Using examples from throughout the book discuss the oppression of the slave institution.
Most slave owners were to be known as heartless. They treated their slaves as if they were not human beings. Slave owners did not care much for their slaves, as long as they obeyed. When a slave did not do as told they were harshly punished physically. Although slaves feared their owners and tried to avoid being punished many still tried to escape, for many different reason. Slaves were constantly burned, frozen, and whipped to death. Anything what the slave owner could think of to put the slave in pain was done. For example, on page 43-44 of Incidents of a Slave Girl, Brent talks about the torture of a run-away. The slave had been whipped severely and ran off into the woods to save himself from further infliction… but was eventually caught and punished. The slave eventually died but “Nobody asked any questions. He was a slave; and the feeling was that the master had a right to do what he pleased with his own property. And what did he care for the value of a slave? He had Hundreds of them.” Slaves were hardly fed well or given a good place to rest, even after having to work full days out on the plantations. Not only are the slaves abused with nowhere else to go, but they were also separated from their families.
4. Using specifics from the book describe the relationship between white men and their wives and white women (the wives) and slave women.
The white men did not really have a good relationship with their wives because of their actions. My guess was that most of the white men did love their wives, but they couldn’t hold themselves back from sexually abusing their slaves since the slaves were their “property” and they had the “privilege” to do as pleased. The slave women and young girls were mostly “sex slaves” because they had no real use for labor. Although the master tried to keep all their affairs a secret the wives would eventually find out of the affairs between their husbands and slaves. Though the mistress knew of these affairs the husband would obviously neglect these accusations. The mistress would eventually despise the slave girl, even if she was the victim. The affairs caused many problems in between the marriage but although the marriage became complicated they did not divorce. But this created a lot of tension and jealousy amongst wives and lovers on the plantation. The biggest example given was how Brent and her slave owner got along with each other. Brent suffered for a long period of time because of her slave...