question english

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Jacobs, Incidents

Choose one of the following topics for a thoughtful response, citing the text when necessary to substantiate your points.

If you are not the first to respond to a particular post, briefly and explicitly summarize what other people have said so far and add whatever additional points you want to make.

https://sites.google.com/site/39boretz/harrietjacobsparti

NOVEL OR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

1. MRS FLINT

What is your explanation for Mrs. Flint’s behavior toward “Linda”? Provide evidence from the text to support your points.

student: Mrs. Flint’s behavior towards “Linda” can only be explained by her reaction and demeanor as a result of her own circumstance as a women, a wife of a slave-owner, and white privilege. Mrs. Flint’s reality regarding her household is that of the constant possible infidelity and abuse enacted by Dr. Flint towards slaves girls. This causes Mrs. Flint to operate from a place of anger, distrust, insecurity, and inhumanity.

To her, the slave girls were “the objects of her constant suspicion and malevolence” (VI. The Jealous Mistress). Linda explains “if God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse. That which commands admiration in the white woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave” (III Trials of Girlhood). This means that whatever beauty or alluring quality held by a slave women, that would be envied by any other women, was a misfortune and curse to a slave as it held the possibility for harassment and unwanted attention by a male master.

After Mrs. Flint received the truth from Linda about Mr. Flint’s advances, she “wept, and sometimes groaned” as her emotions “arose from anger and wounded pride” and not from sincere care or concern (VI The Jealous Mistress). Mrs. Flint allows her jealousy as a woman scorned control her emotions. Her status as a wife of a slave-owner keeps her in this cycle. Her position of power as a wife with white privilege allows her to enforce punishment or protection, as Linda explains she “promised to protect me” but only out of fear of a wounded pride and for self gain (VI. The Jealous Mistress). Mrs. Flint’s behavior towards Linda appears to be that of a women of her circumstance, a jealous wife and woman corrupted of moral values due to power and slavery.

2. “LINDA’S” GRANDMOTHER

Why did it take “Linda” so long to tell her grandmother information about her personal life? Provide evidence from the text to support your point.

student:

I think the reason Linda shies away from telling her grandmother about her personal life can be summed up with one word. Shame. With every degrading encounter of this nature, shame has a tendency to settle deeper and deeper into the bones. It becomes impossible for the victim to ever feel untainted or pure again. Despite it not being her own doing which caused it, the filth of the feeling lingers on.

Linda references the fact that as a result of her victimization– she felt her innocence fade, her self-respect dwindle and, subsequently, felt unworthy of her grandmother’s prideful regard. She says, “The remembrance fills me with sorrow and shame….For years, my master
had done his utmost to pollute my mind with foul images, and to destroy the
pure principles inculcated by my grandmother, and the good mistress of my
childhood.”

The fact that her grandmother’s reputation was so widely respected, and that she instilled such “pure principles” in Linda, likely made it even more difficult for Linda to feel safe revealing herself after experiencing such a grave loss of the very innocence and nobility her grandmother so cherished and exuded. Linda mentions that “it was a source of pride to her [grandmother] that [she] had not degraded [her]self, like most of the slaves,” and that she wanted to confess that she was “not worthy of her love.” We can see from this just how deeply Linda was ashamed of the abuse she experienced. And we can see how very little she began to respect herself (which she overtly states elsewhere in the text) as result, ultimately feeling unworthy of her own grandmother’s love.

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