Harriet Jacobs Research Paper

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Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ann Jacobs There are those who believe in America it is time we move past deeply considering the cultural implications of slavery. Much how contemporary Germans feel in their association with the atrocities of World War II, many Americans – especially whites – feel an understandable separation from the white Americans who perpetuated slavery. Calling this fascination with the past “white guilt” and marginalizing slavery as a mistake of a much more ignorant time, many Americans object to the ongoing studies of the conditions that caused slavery (Bardis, White Guilt). This is a tremendous mistake, and the memoirs of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ann Jacobs exemplify why it is essential this time period is studied and understood for all contemporary…show more content…
As a woman, it is heartbreaking to realize how much of her role as a slave was sexual (Bercaw, Gender). Jacobs had to submit to abusive and secretive sexual relations in order to preserve her safety. While Douglass was viewed as a beast of burden, Jacobs too was subjected to tremendous toil with the added abuse of no control over her body or her relations. While this seems like an unspeakably bleak existence, it is when Jacobs has children with a white man that her life becomes even more difficult. Unable to continue living under such hopeless conditions, and knowing that escape with two young children is impossible, Jacobs fakes her escape by hiding in an attic for seven years. The loneliness and physical atrophy she endured are overwhelming to read. To compare this with Douglass’s regular travel and outdoor work life, Jacobs writes as a trapped mother encased in her own dark tomb. Escape plays a central role in the motivations of Douglass and Jacobs, however the conditions they wish to escape, the methods available, and the possibilities that Douglass and Jacobs find in the north are vastly

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