Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Analysis

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Analysis
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The authors have contributed plenty of relatable experiences of any society through the context of characters in poems, prose or novels. Readers can understand the explicit meanings and morals carved by the authors in their respective written pieces through literary analysis. For the purpose of this literary analysis paper, the text that has been selected is Selection from the Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl written by Harriet Jacobs. Herein, it is important to note that the text under review has been widely acclaimed by the readers and critics for its contribution to American literature. In order to conduct a literary analysis of the chosen text, a number of literary elements will be used. The chosen literary elements include symbolism, imagery, and Allegory (Manfra). The history of America is a portrayal of inhumane acts and brutality against Black slaves.

The authors narrated her life from slavery to freedom in the novel, some of the main characters plotted in the novel are; Linda Brent, a girl who realized her slavery at the age of six when she was harassed by white American masters. Another major character was Dr. Flint who was Linda’s master, Linda’s maternal grandmother named Aunt Martha, Mrs. Flint, her mistress and Dr. Sands who was her lover and her children’s father.

The author’s used symbol as a literary element in the novel, there was a Loophole of Retreat which was Linda’s attic hiding place, that was a place where she was strictly confined that she cannot even sit there or stand, that signify all the forces that restricted her from being free. On the other hand, it also creates a sense of freedom in her mind for the future.

Discussing allegory in the novel, Linda’s rise for the freedom from slavery and victory over the evil deeds by Americans with the black is a sign of bravery, courage, and vanity. Novel talked about the personal life story of a courageous little girl who did not give up on American violence and continued to fight.

Talking about the literary contribution of the story concerning American society, the readers can note that the author has made use of various techniques to discuss the way American society was during the era of slavery. Through the projection of major characters of Mr. Flint and Mr. Sands, one can easily notice that the treatment of slaves was brutal and can also be referred to as inhuman in the American culture. In particular, the text under review shows that feelings, emotions, and love became obsolete terms when slaveholders wanted to gain maximum profit. Talking about the promise that was made by Mr. Sands, he completely misled his slaves and did not fulfill it because he was able to gain the profit by Mr. Sands.

However, he completely misled his slaves and did not fulfill it because he was able to gain profit. In addition, it can be noted that the salves in American society undergo suppression for their moral development and face severe issues of theft, immorality, and adultery. Racial discrimination remains to be a dominant notion that suffers from psychological abuses of slavery because of mental and spiritual anguishes. They are deprived of basic human rights and legal protection. The character Linda represents the suffering of Black American slaves who are treated with brutality and are beaten and have to starve to serve their masters. The intensity of physical abuse and psychological abuse with the salves, specifically black slaves is a devastating act that have been mentioned several times in the novel.

In addition, the text under review clearly challenges the American values when it comes to human rights. The author has notably mentioned that  American society is known for fighting for the cause of human rights but at the same time, the rural or the lower-middle class has always been pressurized and ignored when it came to equal distribution of resources and safeguard of their basic rights.

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the selected author in the literature has made use of symbolism, imagery, and allegory to portray Slavery in American Society. The protagonist character of the novel and the events illustrated to depict the brutal treatment of slaves in American society. The plot of the novel provides a brief overview of the struggle of slaves in America to attain their freedom. The character Linda shares represents the life of American Slaves who endure hardships physically uncomforted, voiceless and powerless and separation from her family. The protagonist character shares the experience and feelings of a slave who always seeks to find ways for her freedom. The author makes use of imagery elements in the text to share the experience of a slave in different circumstances.

Works Cited Manfra, Meghan M. A Teacher’s Guide to the Signet Classics Edition of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. 2008. Web. 12 March 2015 <>.