|A Novel that Broadened the Boundaries of the 1800’s |
|Featuring, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, |
|written by Harriet Jacobs |
|By: Evelyn Kouzov |
Alice Walker wrote of Phillis Wheatley’s poem, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”. Although she found the work to be flawed and written in discomfited language, Walker understood Wheatley’s ultimate greatness. That even though Wheatley had no model to look unto for guidance, considering she was the first published African-American female poet; Phillis Wheatley set the initial footsteps necessary for others to follow in her path. Walker states, “It is not so much what you sang, as that you kept alive, the notion of the song” (237). This statement directly correlates with the difficulties in Harriet Jacobs’ narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Many situations of Jacobs’ story have made the novel feel unnatural to a variety of readers, which the audience seems to absolve for the overall principle of the narrative. The complexity of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative marketed for Northern Caucasian women written by a former slave, the direct evidence of abuse and sexism that comes naturally within the silence of this institution, and some of the questionable decisions Linda Brent made throughout her story, had brought upon challenges for the acceptance of Harriet Jacobs’ novel. But even with these complications, a greater purpose behind the narrative is kept alive, allowing her firsthand experiences to be heard of the true immorality behind the institution of slavery, which has become Harriet Jacobs’ ultimate greatness.
The beginning of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl features an introduction by Myrlie Evers-Williams. It purposely gives the novel a sense of unity with its audience; “She (Linda Brent) sought release from a...