Harriet Jacobs overcoming adversity Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is Harriet Jacobs’ story of everything she faced as a woman born Into slavery. Using the alias Linda Brent she wrote of the situations she had to overcome. Jacobs not only had to handle being a female slave but she was subjected to sexual harassment by an owner, physiological abuse, having to be confined in her grandmother’s attic causing physical problems, and continuously trying to run to avoid slavery. Harriet was a woman who defied all the odds. Harriet Jacobs’ story is an incredible account of overcoming all kinds of adversity.
First, Harriet had to overcome being a female slave. Although born a slave, Harriet didn’t realize It until “six years of happy childhood had passed” (Jacobs 920). Jacobs realized that she was a slave after she had to deal with the death of her mother when she was six years old. Harriet described her emotions on being a female slave when she said “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superseded to the burden common to all. They have wrongs. And sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own” (Jacobs 930). This quote is important to the literature concerning livery.
Jacobs described the awful suffering that female slaves had to endure. Harriet wrote a new kind of slave narrative and wrote of a different type of abuse. Even if they weren’t physically beaten Like male slaves, female slaves had to go through losing children, families being split up, and sometimes sexual harassment. Being a female slave was an awful part of Jacobs/Beret’s life yet she was able to overcome it. Second, Jacobs had to overcome psychological abuse. Instead of focusing on the physical torture of slaves, Jacobs focused more on the pain they went wrought mentally.
Jacobs or Linda didn’t have to suffer physically but she had many privileges taken from her. Atone point she wasn’t allowed to marry the man she wanted. It had to be hard for her to have a right such as marriage taken from her. Harriet was also psychologically abused by her master, Mr.. Flint, sexually abusing her. The mental torture that slaves underwent was just as distressing as the physical abuse. She had to submit to her owner and his power because she was owned by him. Although she was constantly told that she was only a slave. Harriet kept her redeem and her personal needs close to her heart.
Although her body was under the ownership of somebody else, Harriet kept her spirit free. Even though Harriet wasn’t physically abused, she was subjected to psychological torture and this was another aspect of adversity that she overcame. Third, Jacobs had to be imprisoned for seven years in her grandmother’s attic. She did this for her children’s safety. Jacobs loved her children and would do anything for them. She did not want them to suffer the way she did as a slave under Flint. Living In a small space for so long led re to be depressed, unable to talk, and walk.
She was unable to move around and stand up which led to painful physical ailments. Although she was In a little hole, Harriet stayed strong. She stayed strong because she knew that was the only way that everything would end up alright. She chose being confined In the attic over having to live in a cottage made by Mr.. Flint where he would be able to control her body and begin to tear her down. She was determined and she was ready to achieve 1 OFF for the safety of herself and of her children. Fourth, Harriet still had to run even after he thought she was free.
When she was in the north she was ready to start her new life but she wasn’t able to feel secure for long. Soon the husband of Mr.. Flint’s daughter was coming to find her. She was able to be away while the search was happening. She kept hoping for the best and she was still determined to be free. A friend of Harriet was able to buy her freedom for three hundred dollars. Jacobs talk of her feelings about Mrs.. Bruce paying for her freedom when she said “Friend! It is a common word, often lightly used. Like other good and beautiful things, it may be rinsed by careless handling, but when I speak of Mrs..
Bruce as my friend the word is sacred” (942). Harriet overcame running one last time and she was finally free. In conclusion, Incidents in the life of a slave girl is an incredible story of overcoming adversity. Harriet Jacobs is an example of a determined strong woman. She kept her hopes up at all times and never gave up. She overcame being a female slave, psychological abuse, hiding, and running from slavery. When a person puts their mind to something they are able to achieve it. Harriet talked of her freedom at he end of her story saying “Reader, my story ends with freedom; not in the usual way, with marriage.
I and my children are now free! We are as free from the power of slave holders as are the white people of the north; and though that, according to my ideas, is not saying a great deal, it is a vast improvement in my condition” (942). Harriet finally achieved her freedom and her story is inspirational. Works Cited Jacobs, Harriet. From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The Bedford Anthology of American Literature. Volvo. 1. Deed. Susan Balance and Link Johnson. 2nd deed. New York: Bedford/SST. Martins, 2014. 123-32. Print.