The feminist movement sought to gain rights for women. Many feminist during the early nineteenth century fought for the abolition of slavery around the world. The slave narrative became a powerful feminist tool in the nineteenth century. Black and white women are fictionalized and objectified in the slave narrative. White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and chaste while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, brought the sexual oppression of captive black women into the public and political arena.
Harriet Jacobs takes a great risk writing her trials as a house servant in the south and a fugitive in the north. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gives a true account of the brutality slavery held for women. A perspective that was relatively secretive during Jacobs’ time. Jacobs’ narrative focuses on subjugation due to race but it also portrays many women an strong and often open roles. Women in these roles were minimal and often suffered for their outspoken roles.
Harriet Jacobs’ narrative is a powerful statement unveiling the impossibility and undesirability of achieving the ideal put forth by men and maintained
Jacobs reshapes these ideas and makes decisions and takes full reposibilities for her actions to become the ideal and representative image of womanhood. Flint lacked in domesticity and devotion, "like many southern women, was totally deficient in energy. Since Flint denied Jacobs a marriage to a free black man and refused to sell her to anyone, Jacobs knew that she would never be allowed a traditional home and family. Aunt Martha counsels Linda to be submissive to her master and accept her fate as a slave but her words can not be effective because she is now on the outside. Harriet Jacobs"tm Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is one of the few narratives depicting the degradation"tms endured by female slaves at the hand of brutal masters. Linda rebels against the model of womanhood, but she maintains a sense of feminism due to her trials and tribulations as a slave. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs"tm primary ordeal is the persistent sexual harassment and obsessive pursuit by Dr. Linda rejects the notion of true womanhood that has been passes on for centuries and takes control of her future and her children"tms future. She suggests that slave women be judged by different standards than those applied to other women. Aunt Martha, Linda"tms Grandmother, is a free woman who owns her own home and supports herself by selling baked goods. Flint was present but goes behind his back to get the disappearance of her rival, Linda Brent. In showing this, Jacobs reveals the danger of such self disapprobation women maintained by accepting the idealized role that men have set a goal for which to strive. Of all the women that Linda Brent meets, not one fits the mole of a true woman in slave times.