Describe the grueling experience of escaping slavery and the differences between the experience for men and women.
While Ona's escape from slavery could certainly be described as grueling, it was not as grueling as the adventures she endured in retaining her freedom and not being recaptured. This book does not compare the experience with a man obtaining freedom from slavery.
This eye-opening book is the story of Ona Maria Judge's escape from slavery. It does not create a comparison with a man's escape from slavery. The role of men is discussed only in terms of their spearheading of the growing abolitionist movement in the North.
I would argue that for Ona, the idea of staying in slavery would have been far more grueling than the experience of escaping. She was the property of Martha and George Washington, and lived a fairly comfortable life, largely because she had earned the liking and trust of Martha Washington. Howeer, everything changed when Martha decided to give Ona to her granddaughter as a wedding gift. Having no trust that the granddaughter's husband would respect her, Ona realized it was time to go.
For Ona, the actual escape was not as challenging as avoiding being caught, because George Washington—despite all his big talk about freedom—pursued her relentlessly. He not only hired bounty hunters, but also asked his friends and colleagues to look out for her, and there were a number of narrow escapes for Ona, in which she was nearly caught and sent back to the Washington family.
Despite always having to be careful and keep looking over her shoulder, Ona's escape from slavery won her the rest of her life as a "free" woman.