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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


by Harriet Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Friendship Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Chapter.Paragraph

Quote #1

I longed for someone to confide in. I would have given the world to have laid my head on my grandmother’s faithful bosom, and told her all my troubles. But Dr. Flint swore that he would kill me, if I was not as silent as the grave. (5.3)

Dr. Flint’s threats terrorize Linda into silence. Friendship is difficult for slaves, because their voices are so often silenced.

Quote #2

One was a fair white child; the other was her slave, and also her sister. When I saw them embracing each other, and heard their joyous laughter, I turned sadly away from the lovely sight. I foresaw the inevitable blight that would fall on the little slave's heart. I knew how soon her laughter would be changed to sighs. The fair child grew up to be a still fairer woman. From childhood to womanhood her pathway was blooming with flowers, and overarched by a sunny sky. Scarcely one day of her life had been clouded when the sun rose on her happy bridal morning. (5.5)

The white friend will receive an education, marry, and start a family, while the black friend will probably be sexually harassed, never marry, and spend her life in servitude. Slavery destroys friendships as well as families.

Quote #3

Peter, the brave, generous friend who had volunteered to run such terrible risks to secure my safety. To this day I remember how his bright face beamed with joy, when he told me he had discovered a safe method for me to escape. Yet that intelligent, enterprising, noble-hearted man was a chattel! Liable, by the laws of a country that calls itself civilized, to be sold with horses and pigs! (30.1)

Here's a shocker: this guy is more civil and friendly than so-called civilized white Americans. The fact that slaves have such loyal friendships really undermines any argument that they are inherently primitive or amoral.

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