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Unformatted text preview: Quotes Harriet Jacobs-Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl I was so fondly shielded that I never believed I was a piece of merchandise, trusted to them for safe keeping, and liable to be demanded of them at any moment. Those were happy daystoo happy to last. The slave child had no thought for the morrow; but there came that blight, which too surely waits on ever human being born to be a chattel. He tried his utmost to corrupt the pure principles my grandmother had instilled. He peopled my young mind with unclean images, such as only a vile monster could think of. I turned form him with disgust and hatred. But he was my master. I was compelled to live under the same roof with himwhere I saw a man forty years my senior daily violating the most sacred commandments of nature. Even the little child, who is accustomed to wait on the mistress and her children, will learn, before she is twelve years old, why it is that her mistress hates such and such a one among the slaves. Perhaps the childs own mother is among those hated ones. She listens to violent outbreaks of jealous passion, and cannot help understanding what is the cause. She will become prematurely knowing in evil things. Soon she will learnt o tremble when she hears her masters footfall. She will be compelled to realize she is no longer a child. If God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse. It seems less degrading to give oneself, than to submit to compulsion. There is something akin to freedom in having a lover who has no control over you, except that which he gains by kindness and attachment. I thought I should be happy in my triumph over him. But now that the truth was out, and my relatives would hear of it, I felt wretchedMy self-respect was gone! When they told me my new-born babe was a girl, my heart was heavier than it had ever been before. Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. I know all about it mother, she replied; I am nothing to my father, and he is nothing to me. All my love is for you. I was with him five months in Washington, and he never cared for me. He never spoke to me as he did to his little Fanny. I knew all the time he was my father, for Fannys nursse told me soBut now I never think anything about my father. All my love is for you. The new Mrs. Bruce was an Americanbut if she had any prejudice against color, I was never made aware of it; and as for the system of slavery, she had a most hearty dislike of it. No sophistry of Southerners could bind her to its enormity. Many a wife discovered a secret she had never known beforethat her husband was a fugitive...
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2010 for the course ENG 104A taught by Professor Yarborough during the Winter '09 term at UCLA.
- Winter '09
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl