Harriett Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself

(1012 words)
  • Terry Novak (Johnson & Wales University)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself is a slave narrative that has come to represent the particular horrors of life for the slave woman of the 19th century American South. Harriett Jacobs, writing under anonymity, reveals several themes of her life in the text; these themes in turn become the themes of the text itself: sexual abuse, ownership of the black female slave by the white male slaveholder, the experience of the tragic mulatto, the deep bonds of family in the African-American community, religious faith, and friendship between black and white women. Although Incidents is Jacobs's own story, all of the characters' names, including her own, are changed in the book. Jacobs gives herself the name …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Novak, Terry. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 July 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4465, accessed 27 November 2014.]