Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Chapter.Paragraph
My friends feared I should become a cripple for life; and I was so weary of my long imprisonment that, had it not been for the hope of serving my children, I should have been thankful to die; but, for their sakes, I was willing to bear on. (24.7)
Linda’s emphasis on family makes her story tailor-made to appeal to Northern white women readers, since it confirms their own expectations about how women should behave.
“O Aggie […] it seems as if I shouldn’t have any of my children or grandchildren left to hand me a drink when I’m dying, and lay my old body in the ground.” (26.9)
When stoic Aunt Martha finally expresses a feeling, it’s pretty effective—effective enough to temporarily convince Linda not to run away.
“I wish it could have lived […] it is not the will of God that any of my children should live. But I will try to be fit to meet their little spirits in heaven.” (28.2)
Aunt Nancy's sad little story shows that slave women's children are sacrificed to the whims of their masters and mistresses—whims as trivial as the need for a midnight glass of water.