The manuscript of Incidents of a Slave Girl was completed by Ann Jacob a few years after she wrote it in 1858 although she endured a struggle and uphill before publishing her narrative. Lydia Maria failed as the editor of the article in her persuasion of the American antislavery society in the publication of Incidents of a Slave Girl. Later, an attempt by Thayer and Eldridge to publish Incidents of a Slave Girl received a blow when they became bankrupt due to competition for the right to publish the book. Fortunately, it was finally published in1861 in Boston, and a year later it was published by William Tweedie in London. When Incident of a Slave Girl was finally out and appeared in public, it was accompanied by several endorsements and part of them were done by Nellie McKay and Florence Smith who edited the narrative. William C. Nell later described Incidents of a Slave Girl as a handsome volume of 306 pages.
In 1861, MacKay further explained that the narrative had attractive features, which later, after its publication, MacKay described as: “they shine by the luster which depends on their own truth which is rhetorical in nature and it condemns its head specifically to the wise heads and hearts which are characterized by honesty “(Harriet 161). In his conclusion, Nell is hopeful that Incidents of a Slave Girl finds its way in homes and specifically reach out to all mothers and daughters so that they can be in a position to know their barbarism related to the American slavery and the characters associated to the victims (Harriet 161-62). Incidents of a Slave Girl was enjoyable when it was read by John Greenleaf who was the antislavery advocate.
Yellin carried out a research into the background of the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative to prove that Linda Brent was the real Harriet Jacobs or Hatty who was from North Carolina. This, therefore, pushed Yellin to publish her own scholarly edition of the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative in 1987. In this edition, there was an inclusion of pictures, photographs and images of the people who were believed to be associated with involvement of the text. For instance, Dr. Norcom James who was the chief prosecutor of Jacob was one of the participants in the narrative. The scholarly edition also has an inclusion of copy of a codicil to Margaret Will in 1825. This, therefore, ended up as Harriet was left to her nice Mary Matilda aged three by then. In relation to this, there are other documents which had an inclusion of a post with a hundred dollars as a reward to capture and return of Jacob Harriet. On the 10th of April, 1828, there was a petition for the emancipation of Harriet Jacob’s grandmother together with the drawings, maps and letters of the space that Harriet Jacob lived in for an approximated duration of seven years.
The Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative revolves around the life of Harriet Jacob from her teen life when she used to live in Edenton and when she eventually arrived in Philadelphia in her late twenties. The narrative is subdivided into forty one chapters stating from childhood up to liberation at last. The skepticism is at large attributed to Harriet Jacob and the novelist of her entire life story due to the use of Linda Bret as her narrator. Thus, in composition of the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative, Harriet Jacob borrowed at least two strategies of narrative and the conviction of the 19th century and other forms of literary styles that were used (Lyons 19). This has made the novel have the nature of women domestic sentimental together with the narrative of the slavery freedom. The Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative has a close connection to the Africa American literature this document served many purposes such as acting as the political documentary since it had the justice system of America. Furthermore, the document had the feature of depriving freedom and abusing the slaves and, on the other hand, the narrative had major historical impacts which served in the capacity of historical documents. These documents had an inclusion of many references of the real historical landmarks, people, and major events which took place during the past years. This narrative has also caused positive impact on the educational system by acting as a staple in courses related to history, literature, and gender studies.
Apart from Incidents of a Slave Girl, there are other narratives related to slavery that were specifically written by men authors. They have some distinctive differences from the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative which is consistent in nature and mainly focuses on the productive exploitation and sex. While other writers or narrators such as Fredrick Douglas in his book The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass written in 1845 mainly focuses on exploitation of reproduction and sex broached under the major topic of slavery (Frederick and Jacobs 87). Harriet Jacob stood out as one among many in the dedication of the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative with issues that disrupted the black people and their families. Ideally, she wrote this narrative in the period when women were expected to be submissive and embrace chastity. Thus, Harriet Jacob used Linda in the narrative to express how courageous and determined she was. The narrative is basically a freedom narrative which comes with documents that are authenticated with clear portrayal of genuine. This is because the narrative was written by the author who speaks about her actual life experience. While writing the Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative, Harriet Jacob opted to use altered names of people and places to be considerate and kind.
The Incidents of a Slave Girl narrative is also regarded as a freedom narrative. It starts with the summary of Linda’s (the real Harriet Jacob’s )childhood life and proceeds to her early age of six years when she realizes that she was property. The next stage is the clear depiction of the American slavery which is perceived to be evil. The American society caused the reduction of human beings to the level of poverty by snatching away their natural rights which were enjoyed by those who oppressed the blacks. Furthermore, she recounts using the rhetorical strategy to bring to light the deprivation of both tangible and nontangible properties (Douglas 100). She analyzes the horrible physical abuses along with the self-destroying activities encountered on a daily basis. In addition, she puts an emphasis on the information related to her sexual persecution together with her sexual agency. As a result, she remembers the actual events that made her take the hard decision of fighting on the basis of family disruption under the horrible act of slavery. She further narrates on how she managed to escape and hide in the crawl space over her grandmother’s porch for seven years and fortunately arrived in the Promised Land, in the North.
This, therefore, highlights all the available appliances the narrative has in American history and literature. It is also vital in the curricula studies in literature, history, and other major disciplines. The book has been criticized by the American society as it deviated from the male chauvinistic society in America. It, thus, stands out as a reference material for a freedom book or a novel.