Key Features Of Harriet Beecher Stowe And Harriet Jacobs Readings Or Passages Literature Review Example
Harriet Beecher and Harriet Jacobs have both had experiences with slavery and use their readings to highlight on their experiences. The two authors lived in times where slavery was at its peek and slave trade the order of the day. The two readings revolve around the life of whites and blacks and their struggles to maintain relationships out of slavery. The stories speak of some good moments in the lives of the slaves, who thought they had finally acquired their freedom, only to find themselves back into the mix of slavery. There was a lot of fear expressed by the slaves as they did all they could to protect themselves from the trade. It was even dreadful for the mothers, who would sacrifice all they had just to ensure their children do not go through what they personally went through. Women were most affected by slavery, considering the responsibilities they had and their feminine nature that exposed them to sexual abuse. Their freedom was mostly hindered by the fact that they had children to take care of, and hence making their escape missions quite impossible. “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own” (Jacobs).
In contrast however, the story of Harriet Jacobs is a tale of desperation. It mainly talks about a slave girl, whose efforts to deliver herself and her children from slavery were futile. From a younger age, she fought slavery and dreamt of a day that she would free her children and herself from the pain of slavery. Her bondage was not just reflected in her black skin, but also her feminine nature. She had two struggles in her life; one of them was to run away from sexual abuse and the next from slavery. Marrying a white man was seen by her as the perfect way to run away from both, however, as the story records, things did not turn out as she wished. It was painful for her to be moved from one slave trade to the other, and worse still, see her children go through similar experiences. On the other hand, the story of Harriet Beecher ends on a hopeful note. Despite the pain that the slaves went through, there was hope at the end. The change came through one man, whose fear of God acted as his shield and ultimately a way through which other slaves were delivered. “Witness, eternal God! Oh, witness that, from this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!” (Beecher) Even though he died in the mix of slavery, his death touched a white man, who purposed to defend and protect blacks from slavery.
Despite the hatred that has been depicted in the two readings towards the whites, who were mostly involved in slave trade and harassing of he blacks, there were still some good white people that had contrary thoughts towards blacks. We read of examples of white people, who looked at blacks as people and not just objects, yet were compelled by their circumstances to engage in slave trade. We realize from the two readings that slavery was a system that people were engrossed into, rather than an attitude that whites and blacks had towards each other. In as much as some whites wanted to treat the blacks well, the system did not allow them, it reached a point when they had to sell them off and even helplessly watch them as they suffer. The efforts of some whites to save and deliver blacks from slavery in most cases bore little fruit. However, within the hearts of the whites that were committed to the course, they looked for opportunities to set the slaves free. Those are the few pioneers that made slave trade a business of the past, as they brought change to the system.