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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


by Harriet Jacobs

Linda Brent Timeline and Summary

  • Linda is born in Edenton, North Carolina, in 1813.
  • Her mother dies when she's six, putting a quick end to her happy childhood.
  • Linda is sent off to her mother's mistress, who is nice and all but still, you know, a slave owner.
  • When Linda is nearly twelve, her mistress dies, and Linda gets a new master: the five-year-old daughter of the villainous Flint family.
  • At fourteen, Linda lives with the Flint family, and Mrs. Flint has grown Dursley-style abusive.
  • When Linda turns fifteen, Dr. Flint thinks, "Sweet! I can finally start my campaign of molestation!" He physically and verbally abuses her, but she resists.
  • Mrs. Flint grows jealous, and Linda fears for her life.
  • She sets her sights on Mr. Sands, hoping that he'll buy her if she has sex with him.
  • First comes love, then comes the baby carriage, and soon Linda is carrying Mr. Sands’s child.
  • Aunt Martha is not thrilled. Neither is Dr. Flint.
  • Linda has her baby, and they're both sick for a long time but survive.
  • The abuse continues. One day, Dr. Flint throws Linda down the stairs; another time, he throws her son across the room; then, when she gets pregnant a second time, Dr. Flint cuts off all of her hair.
  • Dr. Flint finally tells Linda that if she doesn't sleep with him, he'll send her and her children to his son’s plantation.
  • Linda is all about going to the plantation rather than having sex with this gross old man, but she leaves her son behind because he's sick.
  • After a month at the plantation, Linda runs away and ends up hiding in a crawlspace in Aunt Martha’s shed.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Sands buys Linda’s children.
  • Linda writes Dr. Flint a letter from New York in order to convince him that she is living there.
  • The plan works, and Dr. Flint makes several trips up north looking for Linda.
  • When she learns that Mr. Sands has been elected to Congress and is moving up to Washington, D.C., Linda comes out of hiding to tell him to free her children.
  • Linda lives in her cozy little crawlspace for seven years. It might actually be a little too cozy, since she can't stand, sit, or walk.
  • Finally, her friend Peter finds her passage on a boat to Philadelphia. She and her friend Fanny stow away on the boat and land in Philadelphia.
  • From Philadelphia, they head to New York.
  • Things get better in New York. Linda works as a nursemaid to Mrs. Bruce, a nice English-born woman, and even gets to spend time with her daughter, who's living in Brooklyn.
  • The whole time, Linda is living in fear of Dr. Flint tracking her down and hauling her back to slavery.
  • She has to keep leaving New York to avoid him.
  • After Mrs. Bruce dies, Mr. Bruce takes his little girl to England, bringing Linda along as a nurse.
  • England is awesome. People might be poor, but at least they're not slaves—and no one seems to care that Linda's black.
  • Back in the U.S., the Fugitive Slave Act has made the North a little too hot for Linda. She's constantly afraid of being caught and sent back South.
  • Finally, Dr. Flint dies. His daughter and her new husband, Mr. Dodge, try to get Linda back, but the second Mrs. Bruce intervenes and buys her freedom.
  • Free at last! Linda and her children are finally safe, even if they still don't have a home to call their own.