Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by

Harriet Jacobs

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Benjamin Character Analysis

Grandmother’s youngest son. Although Benjamin is Linda’s uncle, he’s only a few years older than her, and grows up alongside her and William. He’s impetuous and independent-minded, and from his boyhood chafes at his status as a slave. As a young man, Benjamin runs away, is recaptured, and manages to escape again. Grandmother is distraught to lose her youngest child, even if it means he’s gained his freedom; her sadness shows the extent to which slavery fractures families, even when escape is possible.
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Benjamin Character Timeline in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The timeline below shows where the character Benjamin appears in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Four: The Slave Who Dared to Feel Like a Man
Christianity Theme Icon
...her enslaved children and grandchildren to “pray for contentment,” but Linda and her youngest son Benjamin reject this argument, feeling that it can’t be “the will of God” for them to... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
One day, William comes to Linda telling her that their Uncle Benjamin has impetuously gotten in a fistfight with his master, an offense that can lead to... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
At night, the family sneaks into the jail to visit Benjamin. Grandmother is deeply distressed to see her son in prison; she tells him to trust... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
To punish his insolence, the master keeps Benjamin chained in jail, where he’s covered in vermin. Grandmother has to sneak him food and... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Once Benjamin has reached New York, he meets up with his brother Phillip, who is there on... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
When Phillip brings this news to Grandmother, the old woman is sadder at losing Benjamin than she is happy about his freedom. Eventually, she purchases Phillip for eight hundred dollars.... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Seven: New Destination for the Children
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...likes Ellen so much that she offers to adopt her; Mrs. Sands wants to adopt Benjamin. When Linda learns of this offer, she is distraught. She knows that it seems good... (full context)