Incidents in the Life Of A Slave GirlLinda BrentCHAPTER IThe conditions of this master-slave relationship are that the slave(Linda) is there to do work for her mistress, or master, which is now her sister’s daughter. Linda is supposed to take care her new owner’s five year olddaughter, help plant things, take care of any animals and anything else she istold. As a slave, she should also do everything else she is told by her master.
“After a brief period of suspense, the will of my mistress was read, and welearned that she had bequeathed me to her sister’s daughter, a child of fiveyears old.” I think that before her former master died and she was sent to hermaster’s sister’s daughter, the conditions were different. Linda’s mastertaught her how to read and spell, which was a privilege, because most slaveswere not taught how to do this.
“While I was with her, she taught me to read andspell; and for this privilege, which so rarely falls to the lot of a slave, Ibless her memory.”Chapter IIThe author’s purpose for including this chapter is to show just howunfairly, and cruelly slaves (she) were treated. People saw the slaves asscapegoats and were blamed for everything.
She gives many examples of situationsin which someone (one of the masters or mistresses) wasn’t happy with somethingand blamed it on the slave(s), forcing them to deal with the harsh consequences.An example is when the cook sends dinner out to Dr. Flint. Sometimes, when hedoes not like a dish, the cook gets whipped, other times he shoves all the fooddown the her throat until she chokes.
I feel that this is very offensivetreatment because that is not a justified reason to do something, as severe aschoking someone. Even though she was one of his slaves, instead of doing that,he could have just told her, or even yelled, to cook something different-shewould have gotten the point. I guess Dr.
Flint, just like many other whites,felt he had to use violence to punish her (even though I totally, strongly,disagree with his decision, it was probably a “regular” thing to do during thattime period. She being a slave, was probably used to it.Chapter VLinda shows her strong moral character in many ways.
When she was ayoung girl, and pre-teen, she was offered many of the same things that themistress’s children were offered. Even though she thought this as only fair,she still offered her help to the members of the family in return for theirkindness. Linda also knew that people were to be treated with respect. When Dr.Flint, repeatedly called her bitter names, and abused her, deep down she knew itwasn’t right, and felt he was corrupting her and her pure mind, but chose not tosay anything for fear of her serious consequences, even death. She just keepsgoing on with her life, helping him and his family, deep down inside knowingwhat he was doing was unjust and cruel.CHAPTER VIIII think that it was very ignorant of the slaveholders to tell theirslaves vicious lies about the North. First of all, some of the slaves couldread.
Being able to read meant being informed (newspapers) of worldly news,such as what was occurring in the North. Did some of the slaveholders reallythink that their slaves would believe these stories? In Linda’s case, aslaveholder once told her that one of her friends, also being a slave, was inhorrendous shape, pleading to be returned to her master. Linda later found outthis whole story was untrue, and that this former slave never wished to returnto slavery. I’m sure that many slaveholders did this as a tactic to get slavesto think that they had it “good”. The slaveholders probably thought that ifthey could make the North sound terrible, and impossible to survive in, theirslaves wouldn’t want to run away. Although this may have worked in some cases,I’m sure the slaves weren’t that naive.
CHAPTER XIAfter her son was born, Linda has mixed emotions of love and pain. Inone sense she loves her son very much and wants his life to continue. She saidthat when she was sad or depressed, all she had to do was look at him, or watchhim “slumber” and she would be happy. In the other sense, she felt like she washurting her son and wished he had died in infancy. She felt this because he hadbeen born a slave.
Born subject to disrespect, cruelty, abuse, and everythingelse that came with being a slavery. She had once prayed that he would died,and then when he became sick, she prayed that he would become well again. Lindafelt that death was better than slavery and didn’t want her son to have to gothrough the horror that she went through.