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. 3 June 2020. <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 June 3, 2020, 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 June 3, 2020. 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 June 3, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Incidents-in-the-Life-of-a-Slave-Girl/.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | Chapter 8 : What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North | Summary

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Summary

Linda Brent addresses the audience directly in the opening sentence of the chapter, saying "Slaveholders pride themselves upon being honorable men; but if you were to hear the enormous lies they tell their slaves, you would have small respect for their veracity." She goes on to expose the lies slaveholders tell their slaves about the North—that, for instance, escaped slaves who flee to Northern states starve. She admits some slaves believe their masters' ridiculous stories but intelligent ones know that abolitionists there are trying "to get their freedom for them."

Analysis

By offering specific examples of how slaveholders are dishonest with both Northerners and slaves, Linda creates an alliance between the two groups.

She shows how "contemptuously" Southerners speak of Northerners in the South, even though they have business dealings with Northerners. This hypocrisy exposes how slaveholders employ others solely for their personal gain. To keep slaves and Northerners ignorant, they isolate the groups and use laws to protect themselves. Their careful calculation demonstrates their moral corruption.

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