Class On Harriet Jacobs And Domesticity Essay

1540 Words Dec 10th, 2014 7 Pages
Class on Harriet Jacobs and Domesticity

“The slave girl is reared in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear”. Harriet Jacobs says this because she was subjected to unspeakable horrors and abuse from the time she was a young girl until the time she reached womanhood. Fear ruled her life; she was a slave to both her master and the ideology that she would never be more than a slave. Her fear was crippling, but luckily there was a remedy to this fear. Her children gave her the strength to break free from both the physical and mental slavery she endured at the hands of Dr. Flint. She longed to give them a home to call their own, and to provide a future for them that did not include any notion of slavery. This longing displayed Harriet’s desire for the maternal responsibilities that were normally expected of white women at this time. The ideology of domesticity was cleverly found within the pages of Harriet’s narrative to appeal to the young white women of America. Domesticity in this narrative can be seen as 1.) a paradise in regards to her longing for a home to call her own, and 2,) a prison for Harriet when she is isolated in Martha’s secret room just inches from her unsuspecting children. These divergent views of domesticity set the stage for abolition and antislavery acts because white women came to desire what the female slaves had in regards to the responsibilities of the home. The longing to provide her children a home kept Harriet sane and determined to make…

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