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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Study Guide

Harriet Jacobs

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Appendix | Summary



The appendix includes two statements. The first is by Linda's friend Amy Post and is dated at Rochester, New York, on October 30, 1859. Post describes how she urged Linda to publish her memoirs, but that Linda shrank from publicity and the pain of recalling her trials. However, Post convinced her that recording her narrative was a "duty," and she did so, working "by the midnight lamp."

Post describes how the freedom Linda had before she was bought and freed by Mrs. Bruce was "dearer to [her]" because it came from God. She closes by saying that Linda's story is a "sad illustration of the condition of this country," where laws and customs make the experiences of the present stranger than any fictions of the past.

The second statement is from a "highly respectable" black citizen of Boston, George W. Lowther. He points out that some of the incidents in the narrative might seem fictionalized, but that he has known Linda since his childhood and the book is full of "living truths."


The statements in the summary give readers a picture of what an extraordinary woman Linda was and of what it meant to be her friend. Both writers obviously want to help Linda to establish the veracity of her narrative. Post achieves this by relating how reluctant Linda was to record her "cruel wrongs" for the world to read. Lowther's technique is to contrast the extraordinary content with his lifelong acquaintance with Linda and his knowledge that her history is absolutely accurate.

But in these words of those who knew her, readers see the qualities that make her an engaging and sympathetic protagonist of her own story. Post, for instance, describes her "delicacy of feeling and purity of thought" and her will to achieve whatever she sets her mind to. These qualities, along with Linda's experiences, have helped the narrative to endure.

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