Free «Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Analysis» Essay Sample

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a literary work by Harriet Ann Jacobs. She starts it with an autobiography that narrates her painful ordeals. The autobiography is meant to help in the abolition of slave trade. Jacobs has used Linda Brent as the main character to help in narrating her experiences. Linda was born into slavery, and her parents were slaves, though they lived a better life than other slaves. She spent the best part of her childhood in a happy home with her family. Her mother dies, when she is at the age of six years. Linda then starts a new life with her mother’s mistress. The mistress teaches her to read. Linda’s woes, however, do not end, when the mistress dies and leaves Linda with her relatives. The relatives are harsh and mistreat her. Flint, who is the head of the family, sexually harasses Linda. She ends up having an affair with a white neighbor, and together they get two children. The story goes on and on, explaining how Linda escapes to the north and gets reunited with her children. This essay will try to look at five important characteristic features of Linda and their significance to this story (Harriet 5).

Linda is strong and has a sense of self-respect. This characteristic feature enables Linda to overcome many impediments that present themselves before her. She is able to overcome the brutality and sexual harassments that she underwent, when living with the Flints. Her strong mentality and sense of self-respect helps her in gaining confidence and a fighting spirit. She, for example, went into hiding in a place, where she could not even stand properly. She, however, bore it all. Her confidence helps in developing a mentality that nobody owns her. Through her sense of self-esteem, she does not lose respect for herself, even when treated badly by Dr. Flint. The second character trait is that she is devoted. Linda is devoted as a mother, and she endures a lot for them. She is ready to suffer on their behalf and even has a dream that one day she will build them a home. This portrays how women and mothers are significant. The third character trait is that she is clever and rebellious. Linda outwits Dr. Flint and rebels against his advances. She tricks Dr Flint, which, in turn, makes him angry. This helps her to survive through her predicaments. Linda is independent. Linda’s independence leads her to having an affair with Mr. Sands. She does this, because she feels she is the only one in control of her life and, hence, can do what she wishes and can be with whoever she wishes. Lastly, Linda is a responsible woman. Her responsibility is displayed by the manner, in which she takes care of her children, and how she sacrifices her freedom for them. The characteristic features of Linda help in building a strong character that is facing the evils of slavery. This allows showing that the hardships one is going through should not break him or her down or kill and dampen spirits. They contribute towards the understanding of these characteristics’ significance in the story by helping the reader to realize that what does not kill one makes him or her stronger (Harriet 25).


Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a story narrates about a girl, who has to overcome so many hardships in her life. She endures and does not give up in her life. Linda is a strong character that contributes towards giving a hope to people, who are facing hardships in life. She is a responsible mother, who sacrifices a lot for her children. Linda is also devoted and hopes that one day, she will build a home for her children. Moreover, the main character is clever and rebellious, which makes her to be spirited and independent, as well as inspiring. 


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