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. 18 Dec. 2017. <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 December 18, 2017, 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 December 18, 2017. 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 December 18, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 26 : Important Era in My Brother's Life | Summary

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Summary

William, who is still the property of Mr. Sands, accompanies his owner to Washington and then to the North. Mr. Sands is scheduled to return in the fall with a wife. On their arrival Martha sets a plate for William, who doesn't show up. Mr. Sands visits to tell her that William escaped and asks her not to feel troubled. Linda fears Mr. Sands, stung by financial loss, might keep her children.

Aggie, an old slave who has seen all of her children auctioned away, notices Aunt Martha has been crying and asks what's wrong. When Martha tells her William has escaped, Aggie claps her hands and tells Martha to praise the Lord for their blessings. Soon they receive a letter from William saying that he took a chance for freedom and hopes his grandmother will come north when he has "earned money enough to give [her] a home."

Analysis

Linda has trouble trusting Mr. Sands's promises. William's flight is a monetary loss, which might motivate him to keep Linda's children. The enslavement of children is common because their potential life-span—their potential years of labor—gives them a high value. Additionally Linda knows promises made to slaves are not legal agreements because slaves aren't considered people; therefore they lack rights, which displays the inhumanity of slavery and the legal system's undisguised support of it.

The visceral joy shown by Aggie, who barely knows William, at his escape makes Linda repent of her selfishness.

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