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Incidents in the Life > Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Week 1, Introductions, Preface and Chapters 1-9

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message 1: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
This book is not a long book. However, the subject matter is intense and I, for one, can only read a little bit at a time. Please leave your comments and thoughts up to chapter 9 in this section.


message 2: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I just started this. The first chapter is quite sweet - but one can't help but see the dark clouds a'gathering.


message 3: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments I usually choose to read introductions after I read the book, to avoid spoilers and being influenced by the opinions of those writing introductions. In this case, I did start with the "Note" in my edition. I think it helps because it places the book in an historical context. The book was published in 1861, the same year the as the civil war.
"...her theme of virtue under siege. In effect, she was writing primarily in terms of gender issues for an audience of free white women in the hope of galvanizing them into action against slavery."
It is interesting to note other books published around that time: The Mill on the Floss, Wives and Daughters. Writers at this time essentially could not directly mention sex--they had to leave the scene up to the reader to complete. It will be interesting to see how this will be described by a former slave.


message 4: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Ginny wrote: "I usually choose to read introductions after I read the book, to avoid spoilers and being influenced by the opinions of those writing introductions. In this case, I did start with the "Note" in my..."

That's one of the problems she had when it comes her account of the sexual harrasment she experienced at the hands of her master. Writers could not directly mention sex, but I don't think Jacobs had the adequate language to describe what was happening and the only language she could use was from romance novels so she ends up using words like seduce which isn't what was actually happening.


message 5: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Yet even right from the beginning (I just finished Chapter 2) she's quite openly mentioning how the masters were frequently the fathers of the slave children. I was quite surprised that she openly addressed that.

Ginny, I totally agree with your opinion on introductions!

Ah, for the good old days when seduction was just rape by a different name! (Sorry, that's meant to be sarcasm, which I really should know better than to use, because it doesn't always translate well on-line.)


message 6: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I was kind of foolishly thinking that this wouldn't be so hard to read, after all, it's old history, further removed by being written in the language and style of two centuries ago. Well I was completely wrong! Every time it gets harder and harder to pick it back up again. It's all too too immediate.


message 7: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
That's how I feel too!


message 8: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Lol regarding your sarcasm, Alexa. It is difficult to read even though she isn't being particularly graphic. I actually think she was one of the (relatively) lucky slaves.


message 9: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I'm still quite early on (Chapter 5 I think?). Her master has started to harass her (Is that a fair word? So far I think it's just words?), and I find it interesting that he insists she not tell her grandmother. I'm fascinated that the grandmother was seen to some extent as a figure of power. Wouldn't the person he not want to know be his own wife? Yet perhaps he knows his own wife would keep quiet out of pride or shame (or that he could force her to) whereas the grandmother would make sure the entire community knew?


message 10: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments I think harass is a fair word even though it still feels tame simply because she was a slave and did not have a choice about anything that happened to her. I think you're right about the reason he doesn't want the grandmother to know, that she would tell the whole community. I think he knew he didn't even need to tell Jacobs not to tell his wife because his wife probably would have taken it out on her.


message 11: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
Most white women were too ashamed to admit that their husbands had children with their slaves. Many wives that did know mistreated the slave girls/women.


message 12: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Even today, all too frequently, the woman is the one who gets blamed. I was just reading an essay about reproductive rights in South America. The author points out that even in situations of rape, with no access to contraceptives, people still use the phrase "she got herself pregnant."

In spite of this I think it's of interest that in writing this she (in my version she calls herself "Linda," is that true in all versions?) is appealing to Northern women for redress. I think it could be said that she's making an early case for feminism here.


message 13: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
I know she called herself Linda in the original book for obvious reasons. My edition uses Linda also and I'm assuming all the editions do.


message 14: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments I think all the editions use Linda. I think it was very shameful for white women. They also had very little power. They were their husbands property almost as much as the slaves were and slaves were probably the only people they had any power over.

And the women being blamed is something we still see all the time unfortunately.


message 15: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
A.D. wrote: "I think all the editions use Linda. I think it was very shameful for white women. They also had very little power. They were their husbands property almost as much as the slaves were and slaves wer..."

I was thinking that the system of slavery was degrading to all women. Then I read your comment! Agree 100%.


message 16: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
I was shocked that a slave owner helped Benjamin find a way to New York and freedom.


message 17: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Alexa wrote: "Even today, all too frequently, the woman is the one who gets blamed. I was just reading an essay about reproductive rights in South America. The author points out that even in situations of rape, with no access to contraceptives, people still use the phrase "she got herself pregnant.""

Speaking of reproductive rights, did that essay mention that some of those countries will also throw women in jail if they miscarry (claiming they tried to have an abortion)? It just blows my mind how a woman could be in the middle of grieving her loss and have the law come down on her and tell her it's all her fault, ugh. :(

Alexa wrote: "Ah, for the good old days when seduction was just rape by a different name!

Your comment actually made me think. I wonder how many times I've read a classic that dealt with rape but was led to believe that it was consensual because of the wording?


message 18: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments The writer probably saw it as consensual, Anastasia. It’s only really recently that people understand what rape really means. For example, a husband raping his wife wasn’t seen as a crime until fairly recently.

I find it difficult to fully understand the relationships between slave holders and slaves, Emily. Some kept slaves but, like you said, helped another slave escape. And some slaves were so loyal to their masters because they had such a strong bond with them. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand it.


message 19: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
I suspect that some masters were relatively "kind" to their slaves and didn't mistreat them and so a bond was formed. Would Linda have written this book if all her owners had been as kind and loving as the first one?

I actually think that many people fear the unknown and would rather stay in a situation with problems they understand and can handle instead of risking an unknown, frightening world. I would think that some slaves felt this way.


message 20: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments ☯Emily wrote: "I suspect that some masters were relatively "kind" to their slaves and didn't mistreat them and so a bond was formed. Would Linda have written this book if all her owners had been as kind and lovin..."

I agree. It seems like some masters could still see their slaves as human beings and I read somewhere that one master used to have all his slaves have their evening meals in his home, others barely gave them enough to eat. Slavery is such a fascinating subject despite how upsetting it can be.


message 21: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe shows all types of slave owners. Tom had a pretty good master in Kentucky and later in New Orleans; however, the last one was completely evil and Tom died at his hands. I think Linda is trying to show us the reality of slave life and the slave's different relationships to the white masters.


message 22: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments I have read many 19th century novels, and was prepared to make allowances for the prose of this young woman with little or no formal education and so many hardships. I am thrilled to find that she writes so well--her prose is more than equal to the story she has to tell--engaging and effective.

In these first few chapters I feel that the theme is the overwhelming evil that results for everyone involved when people are considered to be property.
"The reader knows that no promise or writing given to a slave is legally binding; for according to Southern laws, a slave, being property, can hold no property."
The stories that follow in the next few chapters all illustrate how appalling it is to be "property", with no legal recourse. She realizes that she is luckier than many:
"How often did I rejoice that I lived in a town where all the inhabitants knew each other! If I had been on a remote plantation, or lost among the multitude of a crowded city, I should not be a living woman at this day."
Here, in Ch. 6, she has not yet been raped or beaten because her master was afraid of his public reputation. He is at this point, however the "father of eleven slaves" and it is obviously only a matter of time.

I think Linda avoids telling her grandmother of the harassment because she is afraid her grandmother will take angry action that will result in the grandmother being punished. I think she is trying to protect her grandmother.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments The author also has a grasp of the big picture. Not just the evil of slavery that takes place in the south, but she is aware of northern complicity with this practice and how they "help" and support the institution by enforcement of laws to return runaway slaves to their southern "owners," and northerners who move south and get involved with slavery. In other words, she is aware of the north's hypocrisy and that their hands are not "clean" from the taint of this evil.


message 24: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Yes, it's interesting the way she weaves in the more general chapters with her own personal story chapters. This is clearly not just a memoir, but an impassioned plea for action!


message 25: by Mizzou (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Ginny, your post made me think of Child of the Dark, a first-hand account of life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro by a woman who lived in those wretched slums. With hardly any schooling, Carolina Maria de Jesus recounts life experiences (that one would rather not know about) in a way that convinces the reader of their veracity.


message 26: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) It seems to me that the relationship between non-whites and whites: the subjugation, degradation and stereotypes used for blacks by whites, directly mirrors, and was/is greatly influenced by the relationship between men and women. Initially societies were egalitarian, but subsequently, men (white men in particular), began to forcefully dominate and repress women. The prejudicial, racist and bigoted "scientific" proves for the inferiority of women used by men were eventually used by whites for blacks. That white women were as much a victim as blacks is clear, and if one is to be completely realistic, the plight of a black woman, especially a gay black woman, is to be at the very bottom of the 'pecking order'. Even today women are not paid equal to men doing the very same work; needless to say, the recent case in the news of a black woman suing a company for paying her less than white women for doing the same job. If a method works don't fix it; racist tactics are refined, expanded, supported and maintained in such a manner as make them appear justified and accepted as the norm. That a white male would not tolerate taking orders from a white female is quite evident in black man being elected to the presidency before a white woman. During the time of slavery the white woman and the black woman were in relationship with men (in particular white men) that was one of enslavement; although, one may have seemed superficially free, in actuality the white woman in some of the more important ways (psychologically), was just as much a slave as the black woman.

To truly understand history, one must have sources other than those spoon fed to us (the story the hunter gives vastly differs from the lion's) but bears merit all the same. For most our knowledge is from: parents, teachers, husbands, psychiatrists, lawyers, religious leaders, and politicians (the latter two being the worst of all). It would do well to read a book that was not handed to you or promoted by any of these, in essence LEAD YOURSELF, AND TRUTH WILL COME UPON YOU, you can't find truth or love, it just is. I recommend the following texts: The Natural Superiority of Women, by Ashley Montagu; The Lies My Teacher Told Me, by Loewen; The Destruction of the Black Civilization from 4500 BC to 2000 AD, by Dr William Chancellor; Capitalism and Slavery, by Eric Williams; and 'last but certainly not least', The First and Last Freedom, by Jiddu Krishnamurti.

To save our selves, humanity must let go of our divisive ways, we are voracious separatists; we divide our selves by silly little individual differences, height, weight; and by bigger and comparatively more poisonous differences, i.e. nationalism, religion, skin color, status, sex, on and on and on. This has to stop, and we can't wait for society to stop it (WE ARE SOCIETY, WE ARE ONE). To change the world we must start with ourselves. You want to stop violence stop talking about nonviolence, BECAUSE WE ARE VIOLENT, let us instead find out what is preventing peace, why are we violent: a look, a word, a gesture, the countless wars, between husband and wife, father and son, neighbor and neighbor, this country and the next. No more you and I and me; rather we humans, period!

Peace and love always to you all


message 27: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Thanks for those book recommendations, Maelanie. I’m always looking for books that broaden my mind.

I agree that white women were as much victims as blacks in slavery though they had a level of comfort and status that blacks could not have. I think I only began to realise this when I read this slave narrative. And this is obvious when you read about the way Harriet/Linda’s mistress reacted to Dr Flint’s behaviour, that she used to wake up at night and go and stand over Harriet/Linda or whisper things to her. His behaviour was clearly driving her crazy but she was powerless to do anything about it.

I’ve read this narrative three times now and it still has an impact, especially the chapters describing other slaveholders and some of the cruelty they displayed.

One of the things I found quite upsetting was the fact that they never heard from her uncle again after he ran away as it was clear he must have died as they were a close family so he would have stayed in touch with his mother if he was still alive.

There are a few things that I didn’t like about Harriet/Linda’s narrative. She criticised other slaves for not fighting back but she was one of the “lucky” ones and wasn’t brutalised as much as other slaves. She was never whipped by her master and he wouldn’t let anyone else whip her - unlike other slaves who were tortured regularly so I don’t think she was in a position to criticise other slaves who were brutalised regularly. That is the one thing that irritated me about her narrative.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments A.D., as awful as slavery is, her experiences are nothing like St Domingue, the former French colony where slaves were thrown into cauldrons of boiling molasses and other atrocities.
I think since she did not work in the fields on a plantation, other slaves who did work in the fields might have envied her.


message 29: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1132 comments Mod
Even though Linda indicates she hates her master for what he says and attempts to do, she is better off than many other slave women. She doesn't think so (and I probably wouldn't think so either), but she really could have had a much worse life without her grandmother and a sibling around. She could have been alone on a plantation in an isolated area without any way to avoid the advances of her master. I am not irritated by her narrative since the fear of what her master could do never left her, but she was determined to make some choices in her life. A personality like hers makes it hard to understand that different people have different personalities with individual problems and obligations.


message 30: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments That sounds just awful, Andrea. Guys, I know that it is easy for me to say her narrative irritated me when she said certain things - considering I haven't walked in her shoes - but it just seemed a bit condescending at times considering that she didn't endure as much violence and brutality as some other slaves.


message 31: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Yet I was also impressed by the places where she goes out of her way to not "blame the victim." She repeatedly says things about how they were so brutalized that they can't be blamed for some of the things they thought and said and did.


message 32: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments You're right, Alexa. I remember she did say that about slaves who stepped aside for their masters to abuse their wives or daughters because of the extent to which they had been brutalised.


message 33: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments Maelanie wrote: " I recommend the following texts: The Natural Superiority of Women, by Ashley Montagu; The Lies My Teacher Told Me, by Loewen; The Destruction of the Black Civilization from 4500 BC to 2000 AD, by Dr William Chancellor; Capitalism and Slavery, by Eric Williams; and 'last but certainly not least', The First and Last Freedom, by Jiddu Krishnamurti.
..."


Interesting that all of these books are written by men.

A slave narrative connecting early capitalism to black slavery that I found fascinating: The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal, written by Canadian historian Afua Cooper


message 34: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments Linda's personal sufferings were grievous, of course, but I think her role is more that of an eloquent, credible witness to the horrors of slavery. In the quote from my post #22, she points out that if she had not been one of the more privileged and protected slaves, she would not have lived to tell the tale. And I agree--it is very effective the way she weaves her personal story in with the stories of others that she saw and heard about.
No pen can give an adequate description of the all-pervading corruption produced by slavery. The slave girl is reared in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear....I was twenty-one years in that cage of obscene birds."
Wonderful language.


message 35: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments And the way she goes on to comment on how the white girls are equally exposed to that corruption - a remark especially geared to appeal to the white women of the north - consummate political campaigning here!


message 36: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Thanks for the recommendation, Ginny. That book is another one that is going on my TBR pile.

I do love this narrative and her language and it really has been an inspiration to me.


message 37: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) A.D. wrote: "Thanks for those book recommendations, Maelanie. I’m always looking for books that broaden my mind.

I agree that white women were as much victims as blacks in slavery though they had a level of c..."


Totally agree, the two are vastly different what a white woman experiences then and now compared to what a black woman experiences is vastly different.

As for your comment regarding her criticism of other slaves I am not sure I recall that portion of the book, or the context in which it was made. Maybe you can give me a page if you remember where. I wouldn't say she was better off, lucky maybe. She suffered quite a bit; both physically (as she almost died several times) and psychologically. However, most depictions of slavery in text and film are for the most part slanted. Many slaves rebelled in countless ways; some subtle, some overtly. The slaveowners (I find the word "masters" repulsive) were in this for money (Did they reap some perverse perks? Yes.); but thru trial and error they learned of which tribes were more docile, and and which were more likely to produce more for them (see "Capitalism and Slavery", Eric Williams). That some slaves abhorred those who were compliant is understandable. (I've always said if I were born in those times, I would probably have been lynched quite early.)

Yes I too wondered what became of her uncle. Hoped he made it thru: I felt he knew if he reached out he would be dragged back and all would be punished, and so he made no further contact.


message 38: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Ginny wrote: "Maelanie wrote: " I recommend the following texts: The Natural Superiority of Women, by Ashley Montagu; The Lies My Teacher Told Me, by Loewen; The Destruction of the Black Civilization from 4500 B..."

It is a fact that these are all penned by males, most have passed on, and some are non-white; can you explain what you mean by, "interesting that all these books are written by men."

And thank you for the recommendation by Afua Cooper.


message 39: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Ginny wrote: "I usually choose to read introductions after I read the book, to avoid spoilers and being influenced by the opinions of those writing introductions. In this case, I did start with the "Note" in my..."

Yes, quite right, and there is only one place in the Constitution that the word "sex" is used. It would seem that the two major problems for people are race and sex, not necessarily in that order. One to alleviate fear by belonging, or denigrating others; and the other to escape the reality of what is/life.


message 40: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) ☯Emily wrote: "I suspect that some masters were relatively "kind" to their slaves and didn't mistreat them and so a bond was formed. Would Linda have written this book if all her owners had been as kind and lovin..."

Yes she certainly should have, slavery is slavery, "power in any form is ugly", whether it is the power of an adolescent school bully over another child, a wife/husband over their spouse, a sibling over another, a boss over an employee, or a slaveowner over a slave ... UGLY.


message 41: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Ginny wrote: "I have read many 19th century novels, and was prepared to make allowances for the prose of this young woman with little or no formal education and so many hardships. I am thrilled to find that she..."

A common mistake of "historians" is to overlook the fact that when people are thrown together for a long periods of time, no matter the circumstances, their is going to be some degree of amalgamation. I am sure it didn't take Afrikans long to figure out how to communicate with the slaveowner, and that learning to read and write in the slaveowners' language was/would be critical to survival and ultimately freedom. Many artistic creations, and technological advances were attributed to the ruling class (white men), although they were not the true creators/inventors. White women had no alternative but to credit their creations/discoveries to their husbands, and so too for slaves with their slaveowners.

The early immigrants from Europe survived here because the native Americans taught them and they had to either learn/assimilate quickly or die.


message 42: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Alexa wrote: "And the way she goes on to comment on how the white girls are equally exposed to that corruption - a remark especially geared to appeal to the white women of the north - consummate political campai..."

'fortis Fortuna adiuvat' ... and to quote MLK, "There is a point where caution can become cowardice.", and Audre Lorde, "I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We have been taught that silence would save us, but it won't." at some point the will to survive kicks in, "even a worm wriggles in the throws of death".


message 43: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Alexa wrote: "I just started this. The first chapter is quite sweet - but one can't help but see the dark clouds a'gathering."

Lol @ "dark clouds a'gathering" cute ... Like the play on ol English speak
:-)


message 44: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Hi Maelanie

I had a quick look and found the first comment she made regarding criticism of other slaves, there were a few others which I can't find. It is at the end of chapter 4 after her grandmother was able to buy her son Philip when she says "He that is willing, to be a slave, let him be a slave." I think there are a few more which I'll try and remember to point out when we come across them later in the book. I know it is a bit harsh being judgemental from where I'm sitting and what she went through, but I do think she was relatively lucky compared to some. Most slave women worked through their pregnancy until the baby dropped, she was able to escape to her grandmother's house during and after. Little comments like that that she occassionally makes were the only things I disliked about the narrative.


message 45: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) It seems that comment was from the group slaves it reads, "The brave old woman still toiled on, hoping to rescue some of her other children. After a while she succeeded in buying Phillip. She paid eight hundred dollars, and came home with the precious document that secured his freedom. The happy mother and son sat together by the old hearthstone that night, telling how proud they were of each other, and how they would prove to the world that they could take care of themselves, as they had long taken care of others. We all concluded by saying, "He that is willing to be a slave, let him be a slave."
They all agreed the life of a slave was to be abhorred! Don't see what you saw here. Linda saw a lot of pain and evil, like this: "Could you have seen that mother clinging to her child, when they fastened the irons upon his wrists; could you have heard her heart-rending groans, and seen her bloodshot eyes wander wildly from face to face, vainly pleading for mercy; could you have witnessed that scene as I saw it, you would exclaim, Slavery is damnable."; or this, "She may be an ignorant creature, degraded by the system that has brutalized her from childhood; but she has a mother's instincts, and is capable of feeling a mother's agonies. ... I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all . The children were sold to a slave-trader, and their mother was brought by a man in her own town. Before night her children were all far away. She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind. She wrung her hands in anguish, and exclaimed, "Gone! All gone! Why don't God kill me?" As a mother I find this is one of the most terrifying horrors of this text, and slavery! And this, "I was somewhat acquainted with a slave named Luke, who belonged to a wealthy man in our vicinity. His master died, leaving a son and daughter heirs to his large fortune. In the division of the slaves, Luke was included in the son's portion. This young man became a prey to the vices he went to the north, to complete his education, he carried his vices with him. He was brought home, deprived of the use of his limbs, by excessive dissipation. Luke was appointed to wait upon his bed-ridden master, whose despotic habits were greatly increased by exasperation at his own helplessness. He kept a cowhide beside him, and, for the most trivial occurrence, he would order his attendant to bare his back, and kneel beside the couch, while he whipped him till his strength was exhausted. Some days he was not allowed to wear any thing but his shirt, in order to be in readiness to be flogged. A day seldom passed without his receiving more or less blows. If the slightest resistance was offered, the town constable was sent for to execute the punishment, and Luke learned from experience how much more the constable's strong arm was to be dreaded than the comparatively feeble one of his master. The arm of his tyrant grew weaker, and was finally palsied; and then the constable's services were in constant requisition. The fact that he was entirely dependent on Luke's care, and was obliged to be tended like an infant, instead of inspiring any gratitude or compassion towards his poor slave, seemed only to increase his irritability and cruelty. As he lay there on his bed, a mere degraded wreck of manhood, he took into his head the strangest freaks of despotism; and if Luke hesitated to submit to his orders, the constable was immediately sent for. Some of these freaks were of a nature too filthy to be repeated. When I fled from the house of bondage, I left poor Luke still chained to the bedside of this cruel and disgusting wretch."

The mind shrivels at what "filth" was his portion to bear!

That anyone would be content to be a slave is Mindboggling, and to judge them harshly for that choice is not difficult to comprehend.


message 46: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Ah, I see! You must be right! I also first read "He that is willing to be a slave, let him be a slave," as A.D. did, as meaning "those current slaves must be willing to be slaves." Which seemed really odd, given everything else she says. But now I see your point, she means the exact opposite, she's saying, "let ONLY those who are willing to be slaves stay slaves, and set all the others free." (Which we can assume she means would result in zero slaves.)


message 47: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Alexa wrote: "Ah, I see! You must be right! I also first read "He that is willing to be a slave, let him be a slave," as A.D. did, as meaning "those current slaves must be willing to be slaves." Which seemed ..."


Yessss, agreed



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