Women's Classic Literature Enthusiasts discussion

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Incidents in the Life > Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Week 4, Chapters 30-41

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

☯Emily  Ginder | 1109 comments Mod
Book discussion. There will be spoilers allowed in this section.


message 2: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Sorry, but I have to ask ... What are "spoiler"?


message 3: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments "Spoilers" are facts about what happens later on in the book - something that might "spoil" the suspense, or the surprise, or the flow, for you, if you knew about it beforehand. So telling someone still reading Chapter 1 how a book ends is a "spoiler." In this thread we assume everyone has read the entire book, so we can freely discuss everything in it without worrying that we're giving anything away. Does that make sense?


message 4: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) Alexa wrote: ""Spoilers" are facts about what happens later on in the book - something that might "spoil" the suspense, or the surprise, or the flow, for you, if you knew about it beforehand. So telling someone..."

Kk ... Ty


message 5: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I had remarked earlier that in many ways this is a very political book. She is clearly making a case for northern women to object to slavery and in many ways this just seems to be tailored exactly for their eyes. Yet then she also starts criticizing the segregation of the north! This takes a lot of bravery, to so clearly draw their eyes to their own flaws.


message 6: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I loved the wry sense of humor in this line from Chapter 41, "The Scripture says, 'Oppression makes even a wise man mad;' and I was not wise."


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Yes, this indeed this book had political overtones.

It is amazing that this woman with probably a limited education has such an excellent grasp of the politics involved and the hypocrisy of the Northern so-called "free states and how they help to prop up and support this odious institution.

The author finds out that "freedom" in the North is not all it should be or as some of the elderly members of my family would say, " it's not all it's cracked up to be."


message 8: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1109 comments Mod
Although the author rightly contrasts the differences between slavery and the conditions in England and finds Europes's "system" better, it was still horrific. I suspect she did not visit the poorest of the poor in England. To get a sense of the problems the working family had in England, read Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton and North and South and much of Dickens, especially Hard Times.


message 9: by ☯Emily , The First (new)

☯Emily  Ginder | 1109 comments Mod
It was interesting that in describing the conditions of the blacks in the North in the 1850's, it sounded very much like the Jim Crow South in the 1950's.


message 10: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Sep 23, 2015 08:02AM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Harriet Jacobs also contrasts her experience with Christianity in the a South where clergymen own slaves and communion is contemptuous given the to slaves or people of African descent compared to Northern clergymen and their more "Christian" behavior.

Though a Christian, I think HJ was a little turned off of church when she was in the South but was happy to have a better experience with church attendance/clergy in the North.


message 11: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 184 comments I mentioned earlier that I was struck by parallels between Harriet's struggle against poverty and oppression and Charlotte Bronte's. Certainly poor people all over the world were suffering in the 19th century, but for Harriet (Linda) the concept of people as property was overwhelming. Even at the end, she is distressed that the only way she can be free is for someone to purchase her. '"The Bill of Sale!" Those words struck me like a blow.' And she was very aware of the novels of the era. "Reader, my story ends with freedom; not in the usual way, with marriage."


message 12: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) "Marriage" ... It seems to me that on so many, many levels marriage is just legalized prostitution ... LOVE seldom has anything to do with it. LOVE is not jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, anger, hatred, hostility, violence, war, nor is it lust/sex this is obvious. However, too often that word is corrupted to include all of these. We talk to our "loved" ones the way we would talk to an employee, and we use an entirely different language for those whom we are subordinate to (our bosses), they get words of respect, patience. Violence takes so many ugly subtle forms from the power a parent has over a child, the power a spouse has over a wife/husband, a boss over an employee, a gesture, a look, words, physical this is obvious. Can you love someone you berate, look at with hate, control, or manipulate? No those have nothing to do with LOVE.


message 13: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments Maelanie wrote: ""Marriage" ... It seems to me that on so many, many levels marriage is just legalized prostitution ... LOVE seldom has anything to do with it. LOVE is not jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, ang..."

I think in that time period marriage was legalised prostitution, but not now. White women were seen as property too and the only people they really had any power over were their slaves.


message 14: by Maelanie (new)

Maelanie (goodreadscommellieb) I don't agree. For each person enters a marriage with an image, if you already have an image of who your loved one should be, then that is not love, and actually it is grossly self-centered. People marry; then, they have a falling out, and they divorce and re-marry, and the cycle begins, this is obvious. It is not about the person they claim to "love", it's all about the image they have projected of what pleases them.


message 15: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 26 comments I think that's true for some people. They enter into marriage with an image of what their marriage and spouse will be like and it doesn't take much to shatter that image. But some people know exactly who they are marrying and they may not know exactly what the marriage will be like as they know they will have their ups and downs, but they have realistic expectations. You have some people who meet in their teens get married and stay married even though I expect that they both change a great deal during that time. That is true love (but I am a bit of a romantic.)


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Ginny wrote: " And she was very aware of the novels of the era. "Reader, my story ends with freedom; not in the usual way, with marriage." ..."

Ginny, this is a very keen observation with which I agree now that you have called attention to it.

As a matter of fact, I read that very novel quite recently as a buddy read with some other people here at GR!


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