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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by Harriet Jacobs

Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The young wife soon learns that the husband in whose hands she has placed her happiness pays no regard to his marriage vows. Children of every shade of complexion play with her own fair babies, and too well she knows that they are born unto him and his own household. (6.13)

White women's houses were often full of slave children who were half-siblings of the white children. These little asides are Linda's way of trying to explain Mrs. Flint's meanness as something other than basic human indecency.

Quote #2

[T]he husband of a slave has no power to protect her. (7.2)

The nineteenth-century view of marriage as a husband protecting and honoring his wife’s dignity and purity has no chance in slave communities—just one more way that women suffer.

Quote #3

I can testify, from my own experience and observation, that slavery […] makes the white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious; it contaminates the daughters, and makes the wives wretched. (10.20)

Slavery affects every member of every family, and it's hard to say who's got it worse.

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