Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by

Harriet Jacobs

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Linda’s father. Although he is a slave, he works independently as a carpenter on the condition of paying his mistress a certain amount of money each year. Because of this arrangement, Linda spends the early years of her childhood comparatively unaware of her enslavement. Father strives to impart dignity and self-respect to Linda and William, and to combat the degradation caused by slavery; for example, he tells them that they should always obey their parents above their mistress, even though doing so is against the law. Father dies during Linda’s first year of living with the Flints.

Father Quotes in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl quotes below are all either spoken by Father or refer to Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl published in 2001.
Chapter 2 Quotes

I spent the day gathering flowers and weaving them into festoons, while the dead body of my father was lying within a mile of me. What cared my owners for that? He was merely a piece of property. Moreover, they thought he had spoiled his children, by teaching them to feel that they were human beings. This was blasphemous doctrine for a slave to teach…

Related Characters: Harriet Jacobs / Linda Brent (speaker), Father, Mrs. Flint
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
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Father Character Timeline in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The timeline below shows where the character Father appears in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One: Childhood
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...is born into slavery, but she “never knew it” for most of her childhood. Her father is a carpenter who works independently of his mistress in exchange for paying her a... (full context)
Chapter Two: The New Master and Mistress
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Along with William, Linda moves to the house of Dr. Flint, Emily Flint’s father. Both children are resistant to their lot as slaves, partly because their father has always... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
A year later, Grandmother delivers the sad news that Linda’s father has died. Grandmother tries to comfort her by saying that God has saved her parents... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen: Another Link to Life
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
The children are christened Benjamin (Benny) and Ellen; Linda gives them the surname of her father, who derived it from his own father, a white man. She’s humiliated that she can’t... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen: Scenes at the Plantation
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...slaves’ meeting house, destroyed and decrepit after Nat Turner’s rebellion, she seems to hear her father’s voice telling her “not to tarry” until she is free. Her faith in God is... (full context)
Chapter Forty-One: Free At Last
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...Mrs. Bruce receives her with tears of joy and Linda remembers the efforts of her father and Grandmother, who tried to buy her without success and who would take pleasure in... (full context)