Incidents in the Life - Chapter Summaries - Cliff Notes

Incidents in the Life - Chapter Summaries - Cliff Notes -...

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Chapter Summaries – Cliff Notes Chapter 1 As the narrative opens, Linda Brent recounts the  "unusually fortunate circumstances" of  her early childhood before she realized she was a slave. Linda's father is a carpenter  who — because of his extraordinary skills — is granted many of the privileges of a free  man. The chapter introduces Linda's mother, her brother William, and her Uncle  Benjamin, who is sold at age ten. Linda also introduces her  maternal grandmother  (referred to as Aunt Martha by the white community), a strong-willed, resourceful  woman who  establishes a bakery to earn money to  buy her children's freedom. She  manages to earn  $300, which she loans to her mistress, who never repays her. When Linda is six years old, her mother dies.  When she is 12 , her mistress dies,  and Linda is  sold to the five-year-old daughter of her mistress' sister . Chapter 2 Dr. Flint, a neighborhood physician, had married the sister of Linda Brent's mistress,  and Linda is now the  property of their young daughter. The family also purchased her  brother, William. The chapter opens with an incident concerning  William (Linda’s  brother), who is severely  reprimanded by his father for answering to his mistress instead  of his father after being summoned by both of them. Linda then recounts her friend's  funeral, her father's sudden, unexpected death, and the sale of her grandmother. Her  grandmother's mistress had always  promised that,  upon her death, the  grandmother would be  granted her freedom. But when the mistress dies,  Dr. Flint  reneges on this promise and puts  Linda's grandmother up for sale. However, the  sister  of the deceased mistress purchases her, and, finally, her grandmother is granted her  freedom. This chapter details vivid accounts of the Flint's cruelty and brutality — as well as that of  neighboring slaveholders — toward their slaves. Chpt 3-4
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Linda  compares the slaves' New Year's Day with the New Year's festivities enjoyed by  whites. She notes that, for slaves,  January 1 was hiring day. Thus, slaves were  expected to leave their families behind and leave the plantation with their new masters  on January 2. To illustrate the anguish this day brings to her people, Linda describes a  scene of a mother standing by helplessly as all seven of her children are sold, and she  tells about an  owner who  offers to sell an  old woman after 70 years of servitude to  anyone who will give $20.
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