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African American Women by Harriet Jacobs
In her book, Harriet Jacobs presents the life of an African American female slave. The book presents two homes, one where she has no right to herself and another where she has a role to play in her own life. The book presents the clear image of the life of African American girls in slavery. It also highlights their determination to live a free life, work and earn a decent living. However hard these girls try, Harriet Jacobs included, and their Masters and Mistresses pull them back. Harriet presents herself in the book as Linda and gives the true story of her life as a slave. This essay highlights Linda’s experiences in two different homes. In one home, she has some rights as a slave while in the other; she is entirely subjected to her master. The essay also focuses on the social relationships and domestic labor that Linda is subjected. The triumphs of Linda generally present the life of other African American girl slave (Jacobs 15).
Treatment and relations in the first home;
The pressure to have sex
In her first home, where she works under Mr. Flint she is under pressure to have sex with him. African American slaves working in the plantations were subdued under pressure to engage in sex with their masters. It was the only way to show dedication to working for ones master. Her master Mr. Flint has a way of manipulating people around him to get what he wants. The only way out of an unwanted sexual relationship with her master is by having an affair with her master’s neighbor. By doing this, her master will feel disgusted and sell her to Mr. Sands (her masters neighbor). Pressure to have sex is demoralizing and limits a person’s freedoms. African American girls in slavery were under pressure to have sex with their employers.
Harsh treatment by her mistress
At Mr. Flint`s home, Linda`s mistress was cruel toward her, and she was put through undesired labor. Mistresses mistreated African American girl slaves because they were jealous and they wanted to show dominance over African Americans. Her mistress at Mr. Flint`s home was rude to her and always found a way to embarrass her in front of her husband. Though masters had control over their slaves by law, some of the treatment they received was inhuman.
Sale of children
African American girl slave were put in situations that forced them to sell their children. Linda while working at Mr. Flint`s son plantation wanted the best for her children. She never fancied her children to living like slaves. Neither did she want them to be under the ownership of their master. She wanted her children to know a different life, to go to school and have better treatment. African American girl slaves had to hide their children or send them far away so that they would not become slaves. Linda had to ask Mr. Sands to buy her children from Mr. Flint. Children were also involved in slavery when they were born by slave mothers. She also had to buy her daughters freedom from Mr. Flint’s daughter who claimed possession.
In a bid to have her children living a better life than she does, Linda had to be separated with her children. As she went to hide from Mr. Flint, she was close to her children where she could watch them through a peephole yet too far. She .............
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