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Paper Topic:

role of gender in shaping Harriet Jacobs

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Innocence Betrayed : Critical Moments In The Life Of An Enslaved Girl

The story of Harriet Jacobs is one of the most compelling works of literature published in the nineteenth-century . Hers is the narrative of physical torture and psychological abuse coupled with triumphs over adversity in a southern world where oppression was the norm . From the outset , Jacobs made it clear that her narrative was no fiction ( 3 Jacobs 's chronicling of her experiences , like that of so many other countless enslaved people , was cathartic . Remembering

and writing made it possible for her to take responsibility for the events surrounding her life and , in so doing , begin the process of healing . One could argue that in publishing her critique she had led an insurrection , an act of defiance not easily thwarted in the safer haven of the north

Jacobs 's tale is distinct from other slave narratives of the period in that her analytical framework places gender at the center of the discussion . In her work , women , in general , black women , in particular constitute what editor Nell Irvin Painter describes as a self-consciously gendered and thoroughly feminist ( IX ) story ' The Jacobs narrative is also an intriguing examination of the slave system Jacobs 's project was to alert and recruit northern women in her effort to expose the foul ' system that indelibly harmed its victims white and black . According to her editor

this Peculiar phase of slavery has generally been kept

veiled but the public ought to be...

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