Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by

Harriet Jacobs

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In order to mislead Dr. Flint further, Linda writes him some letters which she entrusts to Peter to take north and post from New York. She also writes a letter to her grandmother asking to have her children sent to her in Boston, knowing that Dr. Flint will probably see it as well. She’s grateful that Peter is willing to risk himself for her in this way.
The selflessness of characters like Peter, who have nothing to gain from helping Linda, contrasts with the maniacal selfishness of Dr. Flint, who takes pleasure from harming her.
Themes
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Grandmother is troubled when she finds out what Linda has done, thinking it will backfire on them in some way. Linda also confides in Aunt Nancy so that she can report the Flints’ reactions; her aunt hopes the trick will work, saying that she doesn’t mind being a slave as long as she can help Linda and the children to freedom.
Both Grandmother and Aunt Nancy are fairly resigned about their own lives; however, while Aunt Nancy is a proponent of her niece’s actions, Grandmother worries that they will harm the family rather than helping it.
Themes
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
When Dr. Flint receives the letter, he comes to Grandmother’s house in triumph. He sees this as an opportunity to lure Linda south again, and says that Uncle Phillip should go to see her and promise that Dr. Flint will free her if she returns home peaceably. He promises Ellen, who has heard his blustering, that she will see her mother soon. Grandmother is terrified, worried that he will send someone to find her and discover the trick.
Dr. Flint’s belief that he can trick Linda into returning South – to be demonstrated in many letters until the end of the narrative – shows his severe underestimation of her intelligence, as well as of the moral value that freedom holds for her.
Themes
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Uncle Phillip refuses to take on this task, making the excuse that the North is full of abolitionists who won’t let Linda return south. Dr. Flint brags that he has written to the mayor of Boston, asking him to look for Linda. Linda has to reassure Grandmother that the mayor won’t waste his time hunting down escaped slaves.
The fact that Dr. Flint can and does enlist Northern politicians in hunting down Linda emphasizes the extent to which the North is complicit in perpetuating slavery, even if it is ostensibly opposed to the system.
Themes
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
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It’s a relief to see Dr. Flint convinced that Linda is not in the area, as it takes some pressure off her family. Feeling slightly more secure, Grandmother lets Linda walk around in the shed at night so that she can recover some of the strength in her limbs. It worries her to know that, should she ever have to escape quickly, she can’t run.
The fact that Linda is losing the use of her limbs emphasizes both the physical and psychological captivity in which she’s currently living. While she has escaped from slavery, she certainly hasn’t arrived at freedom.
Themes
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon