The book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl talks about the tribulations of a slave girl under the rule of heartless slave masters. In the book, Harriet Jacobs highlights her experiences as a slave girl using the pen name Linda Brent. The slave narrative highlights the key decisions that Linda had to make as a woman in order to gain freedom for herself and for her children, as well. She asserts her identity as a human in a move to avert sexual humiliation and exploitation that most African-American women underwent under slavery. Linda consents to a love affair with Mr. Sands in order to avert sexual harassment from Dr. Flint. The main heroine hides in her grandmother’s house and evades Dr. Flint. Finally, she escapes to the North with a view to evade sexual harassment and other forms of abuse.
This essay explicates the manner in which Harriet Jacobs asserted her authority as a woman in order to resist sexual humiliation and exploitation.
Firstly, she consents to a love affair with Mr. Sands, who was a white neighbor. Linda understood that Mr. Flint was an extremely cruel master who did not care about slaves (Jacobs and Brent 10). He would do anything possible in order to ensure that he accessed Linda and harassed her sexually. In order to run away from sexual harassment of Dr. Flint, she decided to agree to get married to Mr. Sands, who was more accommodative. She perceived that her relationship with Mr. Sands was shameful. Nevertheless, it was better than being exposed to a heartless master, Dr. Flint. Linda made this decision with the understanding that her love and relationship with Mr. Sands would help keep Dr. Flint away. In addition, she took the move to accept the love affair with Mr. Sands with the belief that Dr. Flint would get disgusted and sell her off. Therefore Mr. Sands was better off in handling African-Americans. This affair would help Linda resist sexual humiliation by Dr. Flint as she gave birth to Benjamin and Ellen. The affair ensured that she would stay safe under the protection of Mr. Sands.
Secondly, Linda decided to hide in attic crawl, in her grandmother’s house, in order to evade Dr. Flint who was pursuing her at an alarming rate. Dr. Flint was looking for Linda in the places that she had tried to escape before. Initially, she had plans of escaping with her entire family to the North, but it was impossible because Dr. Flint was approaching very fast. She took the initiative to hide in the attic crawl of her grandmother’s house without caring about the pains that she underwent. Linda thought that it was better to suffer from the pains of hiding rather than being exposed to a heartless individual like Dr. Flint. The decision to hide helped her resist sexual humiliation from Dr. Flint who thought that she had escaped to the North. Linda’s hiding is also significant, because it protected her children from further suffering (Jacobs and Brent 70). Ellen and Benjamin were sold to a representative of Mr. Sands who immediately ensured that they were rescued. Linda used some tricks to assert her identity as a woman and endures the pains emanating from her hiding place in order to ensure that she was safe.
Lastly, Linda expressed her identity as a woman by escaping to the North where she accessed the freedom that she had always desired and fought for her entire life. She made a quick decision and ran away to the North in order to reunite with her children and live as a free woman. Dr. Flint realized that and persistently pursued her. Linda does not give up. Therefore, she decided to run away to Boston with a purpose to evade the cruel master.
In Boston, she managed to live with her children for a while with the sence that she was freedom at last. Nevertheless, Dr. Flint made her run away to England. Her escape was successful. Later, Linda came back to Boston when Dr. Flint became weak and nearing his death. Her efforts to express her identity as a woman through fleeing from one point to another paid off as she lived freely after all her tribulations (Jacobs and Brent, 170).
In conclusion, the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depicts the tribulations of slave girl who tries to find her way to freedom. Harriet Jacobs narrates her story using the pen name Linda Brent in order to bring out different incidents in a clear manner. Firstly, she consents to a love affair with Mr. Sands in order to avert sexual harassment from Dr. Flint. The love affair ensures that she is able to stay with Mr. Sands, hence keeping off from Dr. Flint. Additionally, she hides in her grandmother’s house when she is being pursued by Dr. Dr. Flint. This ensures that she is safe, as the cruel master cannot identify her true location. Lastly, she escapes to the North in order to evade sexual harassment and other forms of harassment. The movement to the North gives her a throughway to England and back to Boston where she lives with a high level of freedom.