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During Harriet early life, she did not realize that she was a slave and she lived with her father and mother in a relatively secure and comfortable life. They lived together with her extended family. This was not common for a number of reasons the first being that Harriet came from the family which was unclear and she was never treated poorly when she was a child. “They lived together in a comfortable home; and, though we were all slaves, I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise, trusted to them for safe keeping, and liable to be demanded of them at any moment.” Harriet Jacobs, p. 7. Even though her parents passed away when she was young, the grandmother was the central figure in her life and she was able to provide her with security, comfort, unrelenting love and moral guidance. When Harriet realized that she was a slave she was startled and when she learned that she was never going to reverse this information and she stuck in the psychological trauma of having the knowledge that she was just a piece of property.
One of the methods which the slaveholders were justifying the slavery was through the enforcing of the claim that the slaves were not actually human beings. They were barbarous, inferior and savage is all kinds of ways. The slave who thought that he poses the values of tried to inoculate similar values in the other slaves was seen dangerous and most oppressed. The father of Harriet tried to teach his kids that they had their worth but this was against the desire of the slaveholder to be able to keep the slaves dumb and docile. Benjamin the uncle to Harriet also proclaimed his self-rule and by refusing to obey the master he was punished severely. He later runs away so as to escape the situation. Harriet was able to mention in the incidents show how Mrs. Flint was shocked that a slave might want to worship, mourn, maintain the social connections, and read. Unluckily, some of the slaves were able to internalize this mentality and thus this made it hard for the slaves to rebel against the meaning of the lives or to be able to find any meaning of their lives. Insensitive, they were able to cope with the slavery without having to feel inferior of their status in the society. The mistress who was supposed to assist the helpless victim did not have any feelings for her but just rage and jealousy.
One of the common myth that was being articulated by the slaveholders to provide justification for their slavery was that the slaves were inferior intellectually. “I admit that the black man is inferior. But what is it that makes him so? It is the ignorance in which white men compel him to live; it is the torturing whip that lashes manhood out of him; it is the fierce bloodhounds of the South, and the scarcely less cruel human bloodhounds of the north, who enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. They do the work.” Harriet Jacobs, p. 49. Jacob did not accept this assumption and refutes it by telling the readers that the blacks were inferior as a result of the slavery and what the white man had rendered them. The fact that the black man has been refused the education, religion, and lives in the frightened and paranoid state it is no wonder that he can be able to develop his mind intellectually. The fact that Harriet and the others like Douglas can be able to write books is an indication that the blacks have abilities if they were to be provided with the right opportunities to learn and to cultivate their minds. The work of Harriet seeks to be able to combat the stereotypes which lead to the whites to see the slaves as fewer humans and if they can be able to accomplish the bondage system can look less desirable.
Harriet provided the details of her persecutions from the Dr. Flint and pursues to correct the supposition that the wife of the slaveholder could have any interest in the protection of the young slaves from the predation of her husband.
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