Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Study Guide

Harriet Jacobs

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 6 : The Jealous Mistress | Summary



Linda Brent has turned 16 and continues to endure Dr. Flint's attempts to seduce her. His wife detests Linda and speaks to her in "vile" terms.

Even though Mrs. Flint watches her husband closely, he evades her. Dr. Flint hatches a scheme to have his youngest daughter sleep in his room—with a servant, Linda. Mrs. Flint interferes and makes Linda report all of their interactions. Although she remains suspicious of Linda, the mistress at least succeeds in keeping her away from Dr. Flint. Linda points out that the woman is right not to trust her husband, who has fathered 11 slaves. Slave women are forbidden from naming the fathers of their children.

Dr. Flint discovers Linda crying over her mistress's emotional abuse. He promises to improve Linda's conditions if she agrees to submit to his sexual wishes. After he tells Linda to consider his offer, the next paragraph consists of a single sentence: "I did think of it." She ends the chapter by saying that even Southern women sometimes find it a disgrace that a master might father slave children and call himself their master.


By sharing the secrets of slavery, which are unlawful to divulge, Linda Brent gives readers a sense of the fear that she lives with, the monster that she dodges, and the grimness of her choices. Her master has fathered 11 slaves, and Mrs. Flint, who can only think of her damaged ego, becomes an accomplice to his corruption in her jealousy.

Linda informs Northern women that their Southern counterparts see their husbands' illegitimate children as "marketable," sold like pigs to slave traders for profit.

Through Linda's report of slavery's unjust conditions, readers can see how slaveholders become morally corrupted by their own dehumanizing acts.

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