Delicate subjects are the issues that seem to be hard for somebody to talk about or a time they need critical approach to address them. Life of a Slave Girl is a novel that talks about the life of Harriet Jacobs who was born and raised in slavery. Jacobs was born in slavery since both her parents were slaves working in the plantations. At a tender age of six, Jacobs lost her mother and she was cared for by her mother’s mistress. Despite the fact that her mistress took proper care of her, the mistress died and Jacobs was taken to other masters. At her master’s place, things turned against her as her master always made sexual advances to her. The urge to be free and independent makes her want to run away with her two children.
This paper critically addresses the incidents that Jacobs faces, the function of exposing them, and the way she chooses to write some delicate subjects.
The Functions of exposing Delicate Subjects to the 19th Century Readers
As noted above, the delicate subjects are the issues that seem hard for a person to address. Additionally, if they are to be addressed, the issues need a critical approach. Despite the fact that they are hard, in the book Life of a Slave Girl, they are broadly exposed to the readers. This results to the question why the exposure of the delicate subjects is vital in the 19th century. The functions of exposing them are discussed below.
Firstly, the main function of exposing the delicate subjects to the 19th century readers is for the importance of sensitizing the women about the unbecoming conduct of some men. In the novel, the writer exposes how the man Dr. Flint tries hard to lure Jacobs into sleeping with him. However hard, she denies him; Dr. Flint persists and vows to find his way in luring her (Jacobs p 45). Notably, exposure of such subjects as important as ladies learns about the wild nature of some men. After reading the novel, it is evident that women become aware and take caution.
Secondly, the other function is cautioning of women about the nature of some men. Notably, there was an alarming rise in the rate of rape cases in the 19th century and that is the main reason why the writer exposes the delicate subjects. Apart from the rape issues, women are also cautioned about the men who pretend to be in relationships but all they are aimed at is sex. Although these subjects are hard to explain or expose, the novel clearly writes about them and exposes how Dr. Flint wanted to rape Jacobs and this made her opt to sleep with Mr. Sands.
Thirdly, the fight against slavery was another reason for exposing delicate subjects during the 19th century. There was a high rate of slavery as the African Americans worked for the whites in their farms. Notably, the slaves lived under squalid conditions and this needed to be ceased. Relatively, this novel talks about how Jacobs was born and grew up under slavery. Her mother died when she was only six years old.
How and for what purpose does Jacobs discuss the embattled nature of African American womanhood in the context of slavery?
In the novel, Jacobs clearly exposes how Linda was born in slavery and the nature of life the slaves lived in. Furthermore, she exposes the life after the death of her mother and care under her slave masters. This is where she exclusively discusses the embattled nature of African American womanhood as her master Dr. Flint tries to seduce her to have sex with him. As Dr. Flint persists, Jacobs takes another option with the aim of making him angry. Jacobs’s next step is falling with a white man who was known as Mr. Sands. Notably, during their relationship they manage to get two children and this makes Dr. Flint terribly angry.
The main purpose of discussing this embattled nature of the African American women is to expose how they undergo torture under their slave masters and the need to stop this brutality and abuse. After reading the novel, people would understand how they suffer and take steps on stopping this torture against the African American woman slaves. Her main aim is to sensitize the community.
The Way She Choose to Write about Sexuality, Sisterhood and Motherhood, and the Revelation about her Goals as a Writer
In the novel, Jacobs chooses to write negatively about these aspects of sexuality, sisterhood and motherhood. Reading the novel through, one may see that she only writes about the suffering that women undergo and the ways that they used to overcome them. However, in some incidences they even fail to overcome the problems and endure long-term suffering. Jacobs’s life is filled with negativity since her birth as a child of slaves. Her mother dies when she is only six and the mistress who takes care of her also dies. Later on, she was taken to a master who takes care of her but, with time, also wants to have sex with her. Apart from that, Jacobs addresses sexuality in a negative aspect. In the novel, she exposes how men are ’beast’ as Dr. Flint tries hard to seduce Jacobs.
This style of writing reveals her as a true activist. Notably, Jacobs does not hide anything in her story but simply states all the truths that the slaves, especially women, undergo.