Literate Harriet Jacobs escaped from slavery after many tries, finally freeing herself of a cruel, sexually abusive master. Jacobs survived to write and expose the horrors of life in slavery. Her autobiography substantiates the abuse endured by female slaves. Jacobs writes about her past with an almost academic detachment. Having survived she evolves into a historian, bent on accurately recording the damning truth for the purpose of social indictment. Narrator Jean Barrett’s calm conversational tone matches Jacobs’ understated language. Just like Jacobs, Barrett sounds educated and self-possessed. There is subdued passion in her voice, but no hysteria. Barrett’s precise speech and ironically polite oration underscores the miserable details of what Jacobs endured and triumphed over.
One of the first personal narratives written by an ex-slave, this is also one of the few written by a woman. Harriet Jacobs (1813-97) was enslaved, along with her family, in North Carolina under a ruthless master who sexually harassed her. After several failed escape attempts, and several years of hiding, she finally made her way North to freedom, where she was eventually reunited with her children. The book was published in 1861.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"One of the major autobiographies of the African American tradition." (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
"Harriet Jacobs in her narrative reveals how she refused to be victimized within her own mind, but rather chose to act instead from a steadfast conviction of her own worth.... Hers is an example worth emulating even in these modern times." (Louise Meriwether)
This first-person perspective had me using the dictionary feature on the Kindle several times. Very eloquent and honest. I'm glad this story was recorded so we can all enjoy it for decades to come.
Barrett's narration brings the story to life in a way that makes you want to give Harriet Jacobs a hug afterward!
I couldn't pull myself away. I normally don't listen to Audible during the weekend, but this story didn't let me go!
Add this story to your list. Jacobs attitude isn't about racism, it's about how we can fight to make this world a better place for our children. She speaks of how different the people around her would be without "the demon of Slavery" rather than judge others. What an example.
Tell us about yourself!
The utter despair of not having control of ones life or this of ones loved ones and the struggle to live a life with dignity as others see you as subhuman comes through loud and clear in this work. It is also a testament of what a person can endure when the stakes are high enough. The peculiar institution that the slavery apologists tried to paint a rosy color on by saying the slaves were happy to be controlled and taken care of his dismantled as the feeble stack of cards it is.
I have not read the print version, but did enjoy the audio, it made it more real.
That it gave a true picture of the best and the worst of slavery, if there was a best.
The vernacular of the slave.
I am not sure there is enough information for a movie.
The story seemed very unreal and the dialect and writing totally not plausible.
This book did not appear to be written in the era that it claims.
The narration was very poor; it seemed as if she was reading a grocery list. No feeling or emotion based on the subject matter.
Disappointment. Expected more.
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