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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself Kindle Edition
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|Kindle Edition, 1 Oct 2012||
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Harriets book wasn't how I expected it to be written and like another reviewer felt I was with her as she wrote....I think in some ways She was "lucky" to have been helped through her perilous journey by some genuinely good people the two Mrs Bruce's were a credit to humanity in how they treated Harriet when all around her were bigioted people only concerned with what they could get out of poor Harriet...
The suppression of coloured people only highlights how so many highly intelligent of them lives were wasted in pursuit of what should have been everyone's divine right to live their life's as they chose not to be a servant and be at a Master's call to be abused however he saw fit....Harriet was saved from beatings so in that way she again was "lucky" because I'm sure she was a desirable woman whom her Master was if he would but admit was in love and had she been white would have married
I read non fiction all the time and Harriet's book will live long in my memory....It is a wonderfully written book and has helped me understand the troubles of colour so much better....She had a wonderful family who were a great rock to her in her struggles....David
This book is by no means unremittingly sad although at times it can seem almost overwhelming, but the small acts of kindness shown by various people, and the determination of the protagonist not to break under the burden but to gain freedom for herself and her children act as beacons in a dark place and give cause for hope in a desperate situation.
As social comment on life for everyone who lived in the era of slavery, be they bonded or free, through their attitudes to slavery this book is invaluable and should be required reading.
Just as an aside to the comment about the use of the N word, this book was written in the 19th century when the word was in common usage and was how the slaves were described. To change it now to satisfy 21st century sensitivities would to my mind be a betrayal of the author and all the people who endured what that word meant,especially as it is a word so filled with meaning relevant to that time that we no longer use it. If they had to live it, surely we can bear the discomfort of reading it? Just an opinion.
The life that this young lady had as a slave is quite terrible and the treatment of her can only be described as appalling, yet at the same time it makes it clear that compared to most slaves the life that she had and her treatment was quite good, many of the incidents she retells about other slaves are just too shocking for words.
One of the most shocking things I got from the book was that most of the slave owners actually thought that what they where doing and the way they kept and treated slaves, including killing, torturing and raping them was completely acceptable, simply due to the fact that as slave owners they where white and the slaves where not, the book shows that this sort of treatment was not the exception from one or two 'bad' slave owners but was in fact considered to be quite normal and acceptable by a large proportion of the population. At the same time though it must not be forgotten that there where many white people in the Southern states who did all they could to help this young woman and other slaves either hide or flee to the north. It all so gives some indication of the norths involvement in slavery, which until reading this I had not realised. This book really brings alive and brings home one of the saddest periods in US history and also the history of those countries who supplied the slaves.
This book is quite shocking in places, both in the incidents it tells and also in the language it uses. The language it uses is that of the time, and as such uses many words to describe the slaves that are quite offensive and rightly not at all acceptable today.
This is a book that should be read, but be prepared to be shocked and moved.
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