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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Chapter 4 Summary
The Slave Who Dared To Feel Like A Man
Linda is fourteen now, and life has… not improved. In fact, you might say it's gotten worse. Take this fun little incident: One day in the middle of winter, Mrs. Flint sees Linda walking around in a new pair of shoes her grandmother has given her. Something about the way these shoes sound really drives Mrs. Flint crazy. She forces Linda to take the shoes off and threatens to burn them if she sees them again. And then, she sends Linda on an errand. Barefoot. In the snow. Something else that happens around this time: Linda’s uncle Benjamin fights with his master and runs away. He tells Linda he's running away to the North. Benjamin heads to New York on a boat, but they have to head back to shore when a big storm hits. At port, the captain sees a runaway ad for Ben and chains him up. Benjamin manages to escape again briefly, but soon ends up back with his master. His master throws him in jail, where Linda and her grandmother visit him. He stays in jail for six months until a slave trader buys him. Once they reach New Orleans, Benjamin manages to escape again. This escape goes better than the last one, and Benjamin ends up in New York. One day, he's surprised to run into his brother, Phillip, on the streets of New York. (Apparently, we're not supposed to know how he ended up there.) Aunt Martha has raised the money to start buying her children out of slavery, and Phillip is planning to head back South so he can become legally free. He wants Benjamin to join him. Benjamin doesn't like this plan one bit. He's against the whole idea of being bought, plus he doesn't want Aunt Martha to spend all that money. Phillip returns South. Aunt Martha buys him for eight hundred dollars, and he's now a free man.
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