Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by

Harriet Jacobs

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Mother Character Analysis

Linda’s mother, a slave. Mother has a lot of trust in her mistress, whom she sees as comparatively benign, and whom she hopes will free her children. However, the mistress leaves Linda to the Flints after her death. This disappointment of Mother’s hopes argues that no relationship between slave and slave owner can be positive or mutually beneficial in any way.
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Mother Character Timeline in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The timeline below shows where the character Mother 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
Linda is also under the care of her grandmother, a strong and determined woman. The illegitimate daughter of a planter, Linda’s grandmother was freed... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
When Linda is six, her mother dies. Her mother’s mistress – the daughter of Grandmother’s mistress – has always been kind... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...mistress has been kind enough to free her in her will, in honor of her mother. However, Linda notes, “the memory of a faithful slave does not…save her children from the... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...of injustice” and remember the mistress’s kind behavior towards her. Along with Linda, several of Grandmother’s children are separated among the mistress’s relatives, despite her long faithfulness. (full context)
Chapter Fourteen: Another Link to Life
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Because of Mrs. Flint’s antipathy towards her, Linda is still living in Grandmother’s house. Dr. Flint frequently visits and scolds her for “lowering herself” by her involvement with... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...of pride. He starts coming to the house every day to hurl insults at her; Grandmother tries to defend her, but only inflames his anger. (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...insulting her until she faints at his feet. He hurries out of the house before Grandmother catches him abusing her. Linda feels that, if not for her children, she would want... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Grandmother is determined to have the children christened, even though Linda knows Dr. Flint would forbid... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen: Scenes at the Plantation
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Linda leaves the next morning, accompanied by Ellen but leaving Benny, who is sick, with Grandmother. At the plantation, she has to leave Ellen with the kitchen slaves and work as... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
The next day, Linda sends Ellen back to Grandmother without asking permission. She doesn’t get in trouble because she’s been such an efficient housekeeper... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...out at night to visit her children, walking quickly and fearfully back to the town. Grandmother lets her in and the whole family gathers, crying to see her. She looks over... (full context)
Women Theme Icon
...Nicholas’s great aunt visits the plantation. This woman, Miss Fanny, is the one who bought Grandmother at auction and freed her; in subsequent years she’s often visited Grandmother, and the old... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...any way. She tells Linda that she will never “feel any peace” about her and Grandmother until they are dead and gone to Heaven. Linda tells the old woman to not... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...bride, and Linda receives permission to spend that Sunday with her family. She goes to Grandmother’s house; the calm day contrasts with her turbulent mind, as she’s wondering if she’ll ever... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...Linda feels shame that she hasn’t managed to be as pure and virtuous as her mother. But as she passes the slaves’ meeting house, destroyed and decrepit after Nat Turner’s rebellion,... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...well, so he will sell them to Mr. Sands. Linda is packing her things when Grandmother comes into the room, sees what she’s doing, and scolds her for worrying an old... (full context)