In reference to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, to what extent do you think Harriet was successful in "getting free" from the Flint's?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the answer to this question can be posed in both a literal and symbolic manner.  From a literal point of view, I think that Linda/ Harriet was successful in achieving freedom.  There is some level of discontent at the fact that people of color could only enjoy their freedom through the purchase of it, but overall, being able to escape the bizarrely sexual clutches of Mr. Flint would be success enough.  On a more symbolic level, there might be some discussion whether or not the experience of slavery can ever be shed into a transcendent realm of freedom.  I think that this is a challenging element within all slave narratives.  Physical freedom does not preclude the emotional experience of reliving the horrors of slavery and subjugation.  In this light, I am not sure anyone is really "free."  The experience of flight to a realm where one's freedom can be somewhat recognized might not completely eliminate the experience of pain inherent in slavery.  In this light, one must always temper the concept of "getting free" with the fact that emotional scars will remain in the psyche of the individual long after the physical experience has passed.

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