Not only one of the last of over one hundred slave narratives published separately before the Civil War, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) is also one of the few existing narratives written by a woman. It offers a unique perspective on the complex plight of the black woman as slave and as writer. In a story that merges the conventions of the slave narrative with the techniques of the sentimental novel, Harriet Jacobs describes her efforts to fight off the advances of her master, her eventual liaison with another white man (the father of two of her children), and her ultimately successful struggle for freedom. Jacobs' account of her experiences, and her search for her own voice, prefigure the literary and ideological concerns of generations of African-American women writers to come.
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