Anne Jacobs’ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” as equipment for living
Anne Jacobs was born in slavery in California, although the dawn of slavery came upon her when she was twelve after her mistress death. In writing the narrative, she explicitly analyzes the life she had as a slave, putting forward several points. The narrative provides the equipment for living for the slaves at the time of writing. At a time when life took different turns, scholars led by Kenneth Burke came together to write several material that would give the perfect recipe for life. In the most famous essays, Kenneth describes literature as the instrument for living implying many things in one statement. Initially, Kenneth implies that people can derive inspirations and encouragements from literature. “Often, there were many social and political turns that people never had ideas of how they could navigate, yet they had to get some way out” (Kemp 123). Many people sort for answers to life problems and rational reasons could easily be identified from the literature. Furthermore, the phrase highlights that social power and prowess were only possible if there was enough literature to guide people towards the excellence. “In most of his literatures, Kenneth outlines plight in the lives people lived, stating that no person was capable of social and political excellence unless they knew exactly how to get there” (Kemp 152).
Jacobs takes the turn on the recipe provided by Kenneth and other scholars to give the perfect recipe for life at the time of writing and in modernity. Jacobs’ was a slave and, she uses her personal life to make the minds of the people align to positives and not the negatives that came with slavery. She focuses on her life, stage by stage to match the events at the time of writing and use them to influence the society. The narrative gives perfect recipe for life in many ways. At the time of writing, the narrative was relevant to the people in various ways. First, slavery was at the peak in the United States of America during this time. Most of the slaves were treated with brutality and few had a standard life. Jacobs tells the story of how she was treated to hard labour, and often forced to work under unfriendly situations. unfriendly. In the narrative, Mr. Sands is the symbol of brutality and ruthless treatment to the slaves.
When Jacobs arrived at sands’ plantations, her expectations were different from the results that came thereafter. She was treated to hard labour to a point of running into a hideout. At the time, the writing served as the salvation that the people needed. Jacobs intended that the slaves use her experiences to know how to manage their own lives even though they were bound by slavery. The same way she decided to run for safety when she felt that slavery was not an option any more, people had the ability to influence the way they lived by making a decision on what they wanted. The book presents what the country needed to make slaves to navigate through events in their daily lives.
“At the time of writing, arguments sought to establish whether slaver was good for the people of America. The protagonists of slavery stated that plantation farming formed the backbone of American economy and there was no way of doing away with it without injuring the economy” (Kemp 122). Moreover, they saw slaves as an economical source of labour and argued that the use of machines would result to the cost high cost of production. States of Kansas, Nebraska, and California led in slavery. However, the antagonists argued that human being had a sense of equality. They bore the humanitarian approach to slavery, stating that it was not the only option available for people. “They argued from both social and spiritual points, yet there were no signs of their cries being heard anywhere. Jacobs came in handy to provide the experience part of the whole argument” (Elaine 255). Critically, the narrative gives the solution, from the experience side, to the evils that were perpetrated by slavery. It states that, as much as slavery was highly influential to the lives of the Americans, the treatment to the slaves was overboard. There were poor conditions of work for the slaves and according to Jacobs; this was the catalyst to slave movements. Analysis of her life gives the angle of lawless treatment, exposing the evils at that time. The narrative is the perfect recipe for life because it gives the solutions that were necessary for the lives of the slaves to become better while improving the country’s economy.
The narrative was published at a time when the civil wars ware heating up. There were many confrontations and the political atmosphere at that time was challenging. Various writings on pro-slavery claim that slaves were happy and well treated. “Most of the protagonists of slavery sought to have the people by their side through widespread black mail and insistence that no slave felt pain in slavery” (Mantouvalou 78). However, this was not the case. Political ravage sprung to the board immediately the narrative was published. Many people see it as the catalyst that brought the civil war to uncontrollable states. Most of novels about slavery showed that the slaves were struggling for life in the shambled environments. Most of them even struggled to find self-respect and self-definition, which were sought to come as default characters. Actions of the slaves showed exactly that they no longer cared for the next occurrence in their lives as long as they were not bound by brutality. The slave girl had the worst of the bites. Most of the female slaves had t adopt immoral means of making the masters have some lenience towards them; sexual acts became wide in America. In her writing, Jacobs clearly shows how the slaves were mistreated, whipped and even forced to go without food, contrary to the opinions of many people supporting slavery. This led to tense political atmosphere in the states; thus, there were many objections. Tension soon spread over large areas in America, and there was a war soon after that. Political ravage is seen as one of the main recipes that Jacobs’ narrative described to the generation of her time.
Dr. Flint is the symbol of reasons why girls slave were in brutal reception of the lives they were offered. “Most of the slave girls underwent the same life as Linda; although there was no way that, they could express this. Morality was an issue of the past among the slaves as the longed for the time they would regain it” (Mantouvalou 78). In the narrative, Dr. Flint forces Linda to have sex with him. Linda is careful and stands her ground to say no to the same. Many other girls on the farm face the same advances, but they can do little about it. Flint does not look to give up even after Linda rejects his advances and goes ahead to make the life of the young girl hard on the farm. Most of the girls who could not give in to the demands of the masters seem went through the same treatment. However, Linda is calm and when the condition becomes worse; she runs and hides in her grandmother’s house. This serves as a life recipe to the girls living and working in the plantations in different ways. Firstly, Jacobs’s highlights that people are capable of resisting the immoral advances of their masters and stand to defend her dignity. Secondly, she stands in to show them that when the situations are bad in the plantations, they can make up their minds and take steps that would protect a girl child. By hiding in her grandmother’s house and not running away, Jacobs shows that family ties are important and imperative. “She lives in the hideout for over six years and, to the slave girls, they learn how good it is to keep ties with their family members even when they work in the plantations” (Mantouvalou 78).
Conflicts surround the whole writing and plot in the narrative. There are very many conflicts existent in the white society that spring suspicion of whether the people really worked for the good of each of the parties or they just wanted to appeal to themselves. Linda is the protagonist involved in most of the conflicts and at the centre of all the controversy in the area. Firstly, her conflict with Flint highlights her initial life stages in slavery. Dr. Flint tries to force the young Linda into a sexual relationship with him. This shows how the white women and the slave girl differed as the slave girls were seen as mere tools for sex. Dr. Flint derives from that to harass the women, including Emily, which forces most of them to take decisions that affect their lives. Linda is strong in the whole conflict and resists all the advances that are made by flint to a state that, when the advances are more than she could manage, she opts to run away from the plantation and hide, a situation that breeds more conflicts for her. “She later learns that her child is held in the hands of flint’s relatives and, this is the reason for her second conflict” (Stoddard 134). Dodge and her wife stage another conflict with Linda even after she had run away from the first conflict. They try to pursue her and capture her, but she still escapes and hides.
At the time of authorship, conflicts were prevalent in the society and no person ever wanted to be associated with them. In respect to the slave girls, it was even worse as they had to face more rampant slavery terms and they were forced into immorality. This is the point that Linda stood to prove. She gave limelight to the slaves that they had the chance to make a decision amidst all the conflicts that they encountered. They had the chance to decide whether the conflicts bound them out of the paths to doing the things that they saw as fair and true to their lives. The slaves had the point to save all the people who were in custody and linked to their situations in all ways. “Linda saves her child, Emily and herself, decisions that are merely important in the whole conflict” (Stoddard 134).
Many people look at Jacobs as a person who cared for the slaves at the time of slavery and had nothing to do with the modern life of the people. However, the situations under which the narrative was written permit its celebration and wide use in the modern days to shape the lives of people both politically, socially, economically, morally and culturally. There are many ways to show the relevance of the narrative maidenly. Firstly, there are many conflicts subsistent in the modern society, and that push the society into acts of violence and disagreements. Most of the countries have people with issues regarding how people should be governed as the legal processes. In most cases, there are many conflicts among the people concerning the place of the girl child and women in society. The narrative has the perfect answer to the question. “According to Jacobs, women should wait to for what they deserve, but they need to struggle to attain freedom and assert themselves into the lives of modernity” (Stoddard 132). Women should stand firm and make decisions even in times when they are faced by tough situations. The narrative highlights that conflicts are solved better if the parties know their stands and directions that they should take in order for them to move forward. Linda understands the significance of avoid any sexual relationship. “Furthermore, she was aware that fleeing from the plantations would grant her freedom; hence; she stood by her decision and ran to a hideout” (Stoddard 134). This is the effect of how decisiveness and firmness solve conflicts.
In the modern society, the literature is important in resolving various issues that relate to social class concerns. Firstly, many conflicts exist among people because of differences in social classes. Jacobs specifically tried to bridge the gap between social classes. She shows that there was a huge gap between the slaves and the masters. From the way they were treated, the slaves were in the lowest class in society. They were whipped, toppled and even died food. By exposing the true feeling of the people, the narrative has great reception in modern times, with modern slavery plunging the hearts of many people. “Many people feel like people in higher classes posses the ownership of facilities that middle and lower class people need ” (Mantouvalou 78). However, they use the monopoly to make people in lower classes fully dependent on them. In modern application, the narrative suggests that people have to equate the two classes and find the common point so that feelings of bitterness and greed seize.
Similar to the social wars at the time the narrative was published, the world today has many political ravages that call for the application of the policies by Jacobs. She insisted that the resistance and uprising by the slaves because there was no care for them from their masters and that they felt like they were overlooked. Overlooking people’s needs result aggressiveness that create political instability. The state of lawlessness for the defence of the slaves led to them demanding what they felt was rightfully theirs. “If there are feelings among the people that they are denied some part of their rights, they will always turn to war as the only option. This means that people have to subject to full law if the conflicts existent in the society today must be managed” (Kemp 122).
Social immorality is prevalent in most of the societies at this time just like the time of writing of the narrative. Many masters and employers still force and coerce their juniors into sexual relations with them. This is a fact that was long addressed through the life of Linda. Linda was forced into a sexual relationship with Dr. Flint, but resisted and maintain her ground. “In modern times, people have to resist sexual harassment from their superiors if they have to make the right decisions in life" (Lichtenstein 66). It all come to the same point the decision-making is important in managing the immoral behaviour in the society. Just like Linda stood her ground and decided to avoid the immoral behaviour, the modern woman should do the same and decide to live straight lives. After the pressure was much, Linda ran away but decided to keep links with the family. Family ties make so much meaning to Linda that she did not want to leave her grandmother.
Similarly, modern people must strive to keep the people related to them close because they are the same people who all provide care and security at the time when they are needed most. Conclusively, Anne Jacobs is one of the greatest writers in addressing slavery and matching the standards in modern lives of people.
Elaine, Fort Weischedel. "The Abolition of American Slavery." School Library Journal 48.9 (2002): 254-. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Kemp, Thomas Jay. "American Anti-Slavery Group / Human Rights Library / Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation." Library Journal 122.14 (1997): 126-. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Lichtenstein, Alex. "Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People." Labour.65 (2010): 251-3. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Mantouvalou, Virginia. "The Many Faces of Slavery: The Example of Domestic Work." Global Dialogue (Online) 14.2 (2012): 73-82. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Stoddard, Martha. "Nebraska to Consider Apology for Slavery." McClatchy - Tribune Business NewsMar 21 2008. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2013 .