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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by Harriet Jacobs
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In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, what was an an average day like for Linda Brent, living under Flint?

Expert Answers

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Just to take one example, note how Linda is treated when she tells Flint, her owner, about her plan to marry a freed slave in Chapter Seven. When she tells Flint about her plan to marry, he first hits her, jumping on her "like a tiger" and giving her a "stunning blow" and then threatens her, shouting at her with the following words:

By heavens, girl, you forget yourself too far! Are you mad? If you are, I will soon bring you to your senses. Do you think that any other master would bear what I have borne from you this morning? Many masters would have killed you on the spot. How would you like to be sent to jail for your insolence?

This, then, is an example of the kind of treatment Linda experienced every day. She is forcibly reminded of her complete lack of rights, her lack of any ability to make decisions about her own life and destiny without permission from her master, and also her lack of power in a world where she is nothing more than a possession to be disposed of as her master wills. This is the reality of life for Linda that is communicated to the reader.

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