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 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 17, 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 17, 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 17, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 34 : The Old Enemy Again | Summary

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Summary

Linda's former mistress's younger brother responds to Linda's letter, saying it would be difficult for Linda to return home as a free person, or to stay if purchased by her grandmother. Instead, the writer says, she should come home to be received "with open arms and tears of joy." If she doesn't wish to stay with the Flints, Dr. Flint "will be induced to let you be purchased by any person you may choose in our community." Linda knows that the letter has been written by Dr. Flint. "O, the hypocrisy of slaveholders!" she writes, thinking that the doctor must consider her very stupid to propose such an arrangement.

Soon after, Linda receives warning that Dr. Flint is visiting soon. She flees to Boston, where her brother is, and she has a friend replace her for two weeks at work. She sends a letter to Aunt Martha to direct Benny to Boston. Benny arrives by way of New York, where he has seen Ellen. Linda says "O reader, can you imagine my joy? No, you cannot, unless you have been a slave mother." She leaves Benny with William and returns to New York; Dr. Flint has departed in disappointment.

Analysis

With the return of Dr. Flint and the arrival of summer, Linda Brent says "Hot weather brings out snakes, and slaveholders, and I like one class of the venomous creatures as little as I do the other." For Linda snakes symbolize the fear of captivity, and she equates them to slaveholders. A fugitive slave on free soil, she is still forced to deal with her estranged master's manipulative letters and surprise visits. His single-minded pursuit of Linda might seem almost unbelievable in a work of fiction; knowing Linda's story is true serves to drive home the evils of slavery.

Linda directly addresses the reader to communicate her joy at seeing her son in the North. Assuming that her audience is Northern women, she once again deplores the cruel system that enslaves children and subjects slave mothers to indescribable pain.

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