Who is the audience in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

The audience in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was middle-to-upper-class Christian white women. Harriet Jacobs's narrative was published during the Civil War and sought to gain her audience's sympathy for the plight of slave women.

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Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is her autobiographical account, published under her pen name Linda Brent, of her life as a slave and her escape from her master in the antebellum American South. Jacobs's audience would be mostly white readers, since a majority of Black Americans were enslaved and illiterate, not being permitted an education by their masters.

More specifically, due to the specific experiences of her life as a woman—namely as a mother—Jacobs had white Christian women of the middle and upper classes in mind as her targeted reader. As many white women in the South would have been expected to sympathize with the Confederacy—and by extension, to support the institution of slavery—Jacobs spoke directly to white women in the North in her text's preface:

But I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them...

(The entire section contains 523 words.)

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