The autobiography of the Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Linda Brent, reveals why she decided to make her personal story public. In the autobiography, we could see how her life was before she was enslaved and the struggles she had to go through when she was a slave. Her parents take care of her for her first six years. The death of her mother and her father resulted to be raised by her grandmother named Aunty Marty. Brent’s parents did not mention to her that she was a slave. She grew up with a better mentality rather than a person who knew they were owned by someone from the start.
Margaret Horniblow was her slave owner, she taught her to do things that many slave owners would not teach a slave until she passed away. She knew about literature and how to sew thanks to her mistress. After her mistress Margaret died when Linda was twelve, Linda got a new mistress she was five years old named Emily Flint. The five-year-old father Dr. Flint was the one who told Linda what to do. He was like a villain in the story. We could see in that he abuses of the power that the slave system gives him. He never showed a sign of sympathy for the way he would abuse the slaves.
Dr. Flint abuses Linda sexually but she is not left with her arms crossed, she actually gets into a relationship with a white man named Mr. Sands who is successful but she doesn’t love him and the result of that affair they had two children. Brent runs away from Dr. Flint and she hides for seven years in an attic. In this paper, I will form an argument on how the Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl provides evidence in white and slave cultures that shows the social construction of gender shaped workspace, family, and the type of access of education.
Education was not given to slaves because many slave owners saw them as a property. In their eyes they thought they had no need to learn anything. Education was exclusive to slaves it did not matter if you were a male nor female. However, if a slave knew how to read was because their masters or mistress taught them to, these masters or mistress were considered to be a sympathetic master. To have a sympathetic mistress or master was very rare. An example, for this, would be the fact that Linda knew English literacy and she was taught by Margaret Horniblow. White people did receive an education, women, and men were able to get an education.
The family was very important to both white and black people. However, being black was hard due to the fact that their families would always get torn apart. White slave owners were cruel because they did not feel sympathy for the children who were taken away from their mothers. A mother would do anything to get their children back but it was not easy, if the mother wanted her child back she had to purchase them as if they were some type of toy they were buying from the store. In the autobiography, it states how families were torn apart.
An example of this is her grandmother, Aunty Marty was separated from her kids, Benjamin and Philip. Aunty Marty became her own mistress, she bought her son Philip but never knew what happen to her son Benjamin after he was free. The family structure of a slave is how we could imagine it, males were in charge, as part of their job they had to provide to his owner but if the male slave did not have a family it would be the same structure but what changed is that he had to only support himself. Linda remained hiding in a space above the shed of her grandmothers for seven years in order to get freedom not only her but her two children.
The sacrifice she did was an act of true love for her family. Families would get separated no matter your gender, female and male slaves were treated the same in that aspect. A white person had it easy, they did not have to worry who was going to buy them and how were they going to be split apart or if they had to have enough money to get their children back from a slave owner. In a white person’s household was different they were never separated. The only reason a white person was separated from their family was that they were running away from them due to conflicts and different opinions that they shared.
Everybody would like to have a job in order to have money on his or her wallet and provide the bread for your family. If you were a female and male slave getting a job was not easy, typically slaves had a challenging job such as working in the plantation fields. Female slaves did everything at home, cook, clean, and bare children. In the autobiography states, how a female would cook for the master and if the master was not satisfied with food, the master would whip the female slave. Dr. Flit would force that slave to eat everything from her plate in front of him. Slave owners would have sexual desires for their slaves.
Slaves had to obey what their master told them to do if there was some type of resists they were punished. Having to be owned by someone was not easy, male slaves would get into arguments with their master and the arguments would escalate quickly when that happens they were punished, their punishment was not providing food for them. White people were not put through all of this, they did not have hard jobs because they would monitor slaves and owned slaves.
The autobiography was written during 1861. Her story was the beginning of a good change. Her story is mind-blowing, she had to face a difficult obstacle in order to be free, many people should read her story to learn about history. Throughout this course we saw males and female slaves were not very different. Both sex did not received education but males had more of an advantage the level of education they had was basic but it was something.
The family role was different for both sex because females had to do household activities and take care of the children in the other hand males had to provide income. Same goes with getting a job, women would not work and stayed home and males would work in the fields. White people’s life was not as challenging. Both sex had the opportunity to have an education and a job. Family roles were similar to slave women roles, they had to take care of their children. However, this is her story we can not rely on her insight. The way things that happen to her were very heart breaking but she was not the exception, if we dig more into more female slaves story her story would be similar to the rest of them. It is a good thing that a woman shared her story, we are used to males having more power than women and society views that as a correct thing.
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