Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Study Guide

Harriet Jacobs

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Course Hero. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 24 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/>.

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Course Hero. (2016, November 28). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/

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Course Hero. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed September 24, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

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Course Hero, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed September 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 1 : Childhood | Summary

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Summary

"Linda Brent" opens her narrative with the sentence, "I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away." Linda's parents shield her from slavery, as does her grandmother Martha, her "great treasure." Martha industriously saves money in the hope of purchasing her children's freedom.

When her mother dies Linda is sent to her mother's mistress (woman who supervises servants), who teaches her how to read and write. When Linda is 11 her mistress dies. At the reading of the will Linda discovers she now belongs to her mistress's niece. This injustice pains her.

Analysis

The use of a semicolon to join the two thoughts in the first sentence is important. Both the birth in slavery and the happy childhood hold equal weight for Linda. Later in the chapter she portrays the same equanimity in her grandmother, who is her mainstay after her mother passes away. This shared trait of equanimity reflects the women's strong bond and represents how much Aunt Martha has influenced Linda.

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