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. 17 July 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 July 17, 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 July 17, 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 July 17, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 28 : Aunt Nancy | Summary

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Summary

When Linda has been in hiding for six years, Martha visits Aunt Nancy on her deathbed at the Flints' house. Even though Nancy can't speak, the two gaze at each other. Dr. Flint offends Martha when he states his wishes for Linda to take her aunt's place.

As Nancy dies Linda reviews her aunt's life. Despite Mrs. Flint's self-proclaimed affection for Nancy, she has treated her cruelly. Pregnant Mrs. Flint makes Nancy sleep on the entryway floor in case she needs her. Consequently Nancy gives birth to six premature children as well as two "feeble" babies who die shortly after birth. Married to a "sea-faring" man who sleeps with her in their small room when he is home, Nancy knows that their marriage can be annulled by the Flints at any time.

After Nancy's death Mrs. Flint improbably asks Aunt Martha if her slave can be buried in her own graveyard. The family, however, refuses.

Analysis

Mrs. Flint's cruel mistreatment of Nancy show how slaveholders are corrupted by their power and by the laws that give them that power. Her demands dehumanized Nancy, who had faithfully served the Flints. In Linda's eyes the mistress's treatment of her aunt equated to slow murder. She refers to her cell as a "living grave," another testament to the evils of slavery.

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