Harriet jacobs incidencts in the life of a slave girl

Essay Question: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

In Chapter Fourteen of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs argues that a?Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own.a? (Jacobs, 86)

This paper will analyze that particular claim. USING EVIDENCE FROM THE TEXT, organize your response around the following three questions: describe what Harriet Jacobs believes are some of the particular burdens of enslaved women; locate what you feel are the ways Jacobs manages to resist those difficulties of enslavement; and finally, argue whether or not you feel Jacobs was justified in claiming that women were uniquely wronged by slavery.

Your paper should fall within the 500 to 750 word range and be DOUBLE-SPACED. It WILL NOT exceed the 750 word limit; those that do exceed this limit will be penalized. Papers should also respect standard MS Word margins (Left and Right: 1.25a?; Top and Bottom: 1a?), and be written in 12 point, Times New Roman font. Obvious attempts to cheat those guidelines will also result in a penalty.

And, please remember, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is NOT A NOVEL. You should NOT refer to it as a novel in your essay. A novel is, by definition, a fictional narrative. Rather, Jacobsa account is what historians refer to as a PRIMARY SOURCE, that is, an eyewitness account of actual historical events. In this case, Jacobs published an autobiographical account of her own experiences as an enslaved woman, for which we have much corroborating evidence.

In the case of primary sources, therefore, we do not debate whether or not the events described are a?real,a? in the way we might a novel. Rather, we ask questions about how representative the authoras experiences might be, and whether or not the perspective of an author could have been shaped by the intent behind their writing. When assessing Jacobsa depictions of slavery, feel free to consider WHY she chose to write this account, and how those intentions might have affected her presentation of slavery.

A good essay will:

1. Demonstrate your understanding of the topic. Do not simply offer your opinion. Rather, you must provide EVIDENCE from the text to support any conclusions you reach. Neither should you simply string together a series of quotations from the book. The essay should reflect a careful balance between your analysis and supporting material from Jacobsa account of life under slavery.

2. Be written in your best English prose and proofread carefully, using complete sentences and proper punctuation, while avoiding the use of slang. Be sure to remember the following:

A. This is an essay about historical events. Refer to the past in the past tense.

B. Do not use contractions. In formal writing, words such as a?canata? and a?wasnata? should be written out as a?cannota? and a?was not.a?

C. Do not write in the first person. Words such as a?I,a? a?me,a? and a?my,a? e.g. the expression a?In my opiniona¦a? should not appear in formal prose.

D. Avoid the passive voice. Sentences should contain subjects and active verbs. One knows a passive construction by excessive appearance of the word a?was.a? So, a sentence written as a?Harriet Jacobs was beaten for her refusal to obey a command.a? should be rewritten to better reflect action and responsibility: a?Dr. Flint beat Harriet Jacobs for her refusal to obey a command.a?

3. Should be properly organized. This includes:

A. An introduction that clearly spells out what you intend to argue, in the form of a concise thesis statement.

B. Several substantive paragraphs that gather evidence in support of each dimension of the essay question.

C. A conclusion that concisely summarizes your argument and supporting evidence.

4. When citing evidence, you may use parenthetical references at the end of any sentence that uses quotations from Jacobsa account. See the example below, contained within the essay question itself.