Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Cliffs Notes) Paperback – 5 Jun 2000
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. One of the major autobiographies of the African American tradition.
Louise Meriwether Harriet Jacobs in her narrative reveals how she refused to be victimized within her own mind, but rather chose to act instead from a steadfast conviction of her own worth....Hers is an example worth emulating even in these modern times. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition combines the two most important African American slave narratives into one volume.
Frederick Douglass's Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it. Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, and in 1861 she published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, now recognized as the most comprehensive antebellum slave narrative written by a woman. Jacobs's account broke the silence on the exploitation of African American female slaves, and it remains crucial reading. These narratives illuminate and inform each other. This edition includes an incisive Introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah and extensive annotations.
"From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Although I love to read this isn't a book that I would have really bought for myself, I much prefer science fiction or horror to biographies. But as the Kindle edition was free to download and I have the Kindle for Android app on my phone I decided to give it a go and found it was quite a revelation. Although the book is in no way graphic, we are left in doubt as to how difficult and humiliating life is for a young woman growing up as the property of another man. As the book progressed, I really found myself sympathising with Linda and rooting for her in her quest for freedom for both herself and her children.
In the main part the language used is easy to read and the conversational style almost makes it feel as if we're sitting next to Linda as she tells us her story. There are a few points in the book where she uses patois, which I found a little harder to follow, and there are also points where the 'N' word is used. Thinking long and hard about it, the fact that this book is a slave girl telling us this story, means that this language is exactly how she would have spoken, and to remove those words because we now find them offensive would have been in fact offensive to her memory. Throughout the whole book you really do get to understand Linda's motivations and empathise with her, as she recounts both her own and the stories of those around her with just the right level detail.Read more ›
Boy, was I surprised. Harriet Jacobs, writing under a pseudonym, published this book in 1861 after spending many, many years in hiding from her "master," Dr. Charles Flint, a lecherous, sexually-aggressive man determined to break her spirit. Seven years in a cramped, ten-by-seven foot attic crawlspace, however, did little to crush this woman, for she not only managed to escape North Carolina herself, but her children and uncle escaped as well. Her grandmother, freed when she was fifty years old upon the death of her mistress, died during Jacobs' exile in Boston.
What I most enjoyed about this text was its style and frankness with the material. Written as a part slave narrative, part journal, and part epistle to the reader, Incidents tells a remarkable tale of the callousness of white men to slaves, who were deemed subhuman and ignorant. Harriet Jacobs demonstrates an enormous capacity for intelligence through her careful, brutally honest memoirs. Although the names of friends, family, and enemies were changed, perhaps to protect the innocent, perhaps to protect the guilty, there is no doubt in my mind that the horrors Jacobs describes occurred, and while my family arrived in America at the early part of this century, I still experienced a great embarassment and shame. Not because I had anything to do with those horrid crimes. No... I feel shame because I know it still continues today, and it saddens my heart to know it will probably continue tomorrow.
Rest in peace, Harriet Jacobs.
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