Harriett Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (2577 words)

Terry Novak (Johnson and Wales University)
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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 nineteenth century American South. Harriet Ann 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, motherhood, religious faith, and friendship between black and white women. Although Incidents is Jacobs’s own story, all of the characters’ names, including her o…

Citation: Novak, Terry. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 July 2002; last revised 10 August 2020. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4465, accessed 14 June 2021.]

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