Harriet Jacobs is the first woman to produce a slave narrative in the United States. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is important because of how it represents and critiques "the special injustices that women suffered under what sentimental defenders of slavery often referred to as the ‘patriarchal institution.’ Famous male fugitive slave narrators like Frederick Douglass . . . had called attention to the sexual victimization of slave women by white men. But these men had said little about how slave women resisted such exploitation and tried to exercise a measure of freedom within the restrictions of their oppression.” —The Norton Anthology of African American Literature


Read the introduction and main text of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and respond to the writing prompts below. Format all responses on the same document and submit via Pilot. DUE DATE: Friday, May 18, 9 a.m.


In your own words, write one-paragraph sketches for the following characters that account for their biographies, emotional dispositions, and core desires. Each sketch must be at least 100 words.

Linda Brent
Dr. Flint
Aunt Martha
Mrs. Flint
Mr. Sands

Short Essay

Choose ONE of the following themes and write a short essay about its role in the novel. Your first sentence should be a thesis argument. Here is a generic example: "In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, violence is used as a means for slaveowners to exert power over slaves." (NOTE: You may not use this example; if you choose the theme of violence, develop a more specific and compelling argument.) 250-500 words.



Choose 2-3 substantive differences between Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life and explain why they are important. Be sure to cite the text while making a concerted effort to be thoughtful and interpretive. 500-750 words. DUE DATE: Friday, May 25, 9 a.m.


In your own words, summarize the following three articles from the supplementary material in the Norton Critical Edition of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl:

Jean Fagan Yellin • Written by Herself: Harriet Jacobs' Slave Narrative
Frances Smith Foster • Resisting Incidents
Sandra Gunning • Reading and Redemption in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Each summary should be 250 words long and formatted as a single paragraph. As always, be sure that your writing is revised and polished. Submit all three summaries on the same document via Pilot. DUE DATE: Friday, May 25, 9 a.m.