Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by

Harriet Jacobs

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Mrs. Flint Character Analysis

Dr. Flint’s wife and Linda’s mistress before her escape. Mrs. Flint is a harsh and pointlessly cruel mistress; she refuses to give even leftover food to her slaves, and she makes Linda go barefoot in the snow because the noise of her shoes bothers her. Linda points out the ironic contrast between her weakness when it comes to household work and her strength in inflicting violence on people who are powerless against her. Mrs. Flint is particularly aggressive towards Linda because of her husband’s obvious sexual interest in her, and inflicts psychological and physical violence on her despite Linda’s obvious lack of responsibility for the situation. Meanwhile, Mrs. Flint’s inability to earn respect from her husband or convince him to sell Linda reveals her own powerlessness in her marriage, a position that Linda argues would be ameliorated if slavery did not exist. As the narrative progresses, Mrs. Flint emerges as deeply unhappy with her lack of control in her own marriage, but channels her despair into extreme vindictiveness towards the people that are powerless against her.

Mrs. Flint 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 Mrs. Flint or refer to Mrs. Flint. 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:
Chapter 6 Quotes

She felt that her marriage vows were desecrated, her dignity insulted; but she had no compassion for the poor victim of her husband’s perfidy. She pitied herself as a martyr; but she was incapable of feeling for the condition of shame and misery in which her unfortunate, helpless slave was placed.

Related Characters: Harriet Jacobs / Linda Brent (speaker), Mrs. Flint
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Flint Character Timeline in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Flint appears in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Two: The New Master and Mistress
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
...from “evil days to come,” but Linda’s “heart rebelled against God” for taking her relatives. Mrs. Flint refuses to let Linda go to see her father’s body, and instead makes her spend... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...to pay money for his own freedom. Meanwhile, they barely get anything to eat because Mrs. Flint is so stingy with food for her slaves. Linda relies on Grandmother to provide her... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
“Like many southern women,” Mrs. Flint is too lazy to run her own household but very energetic when it comes to... (full context)
Chapter Four: The Slave Who Dared to Feel Like a Man
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...Grandmother has just bought Linda a badly-needed pair of shoes. However, the shoes’ noise bothers Mrs. Flint and she forbids Linda to wear them again. Linda has to run a long errand... (full context)
Chapter Six: The Jealous Mistress
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Flint has understood her husband’s character for years, and could use this knowledge to protect her... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Flint becomes more and more angry at her husband. In order to get Linda alone, Dr.... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Linda tells the truth, feeling sad for the obvious grief and humiliation Mrs. Flint displays. However, she knows that while the woman “pitied herself as a martyr” she can’t... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Instead, Linda has to sleep in Mrs. Flint ’s room. Linda is often terrified to find the older woman leaning over her while... (full context)
Chapter Seven: The Lover
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...worried that marital happiness is impossible for her. Dr. Flint refuses to sell her; although Mrs. Flint would be happy to be rid of her, she thinks that slaves have no right... (full context)
Chapter Ten: A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
...own, outside the town. By this point many people are gossiping about his conduct and Mrs. Flint ’s jealousy, so he hopes to isolate Linda and protect himself from scandal. Linda promises... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Fearing Dr. Flint’s retribution now that she’s confessed, Linda goes to Grandmother’s house. Soon Mrs. Flint arrives, screaming at Linda and accusing her of having a child with her husband. Grandmother... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: The New Tie to Life
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...of behaving like a “criminal,” and reminding her how badly he could punish her. However, Mrs. Flint has forbidden her from returning to the house, so she gets to stay with Grandmother. (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... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen: Continued Persecutions
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...Grandmother visits Dr. Flint, reminding him how well she has served his family, even nursing Mrs. Flint along with her own children. She again offers to buy Linda, but Dr. Flint rebuffs... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen: Scenes at the Plantation
Women Theme Icon
...visited Grandmother, and the old women like to sit around sewing and remembering old stories. Mrs. Flint hates that people from her family associate with Linda and Grandmother, but fortunately Miss Fanny... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...to the plantation, and soon the bride arrives. The slaves are excited, hoping the young Mrs. Flint will be a good mistress, but Linda has heard bad things about her character and... (full context)
Women Theme Icon
At dinner Linda has to wait upon Dr. Flint and Mrs. Flint , who are visiting. She hasn’t seen her old mistress for five years, and the... (full context)
Sexual Virtue and Sexual Abuse Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Linda starts working as a maid for the young Mrs. Flint . As she expected, the bride soon displays her authority over the slaves. She oversees... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
After a week, the older Mrs. Flint visits the plantation for a private conference with the young Mrs. Flint. Linda assumes that... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen: Months of Peril
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...Flint’s house to recover, but she screams and cries so much while she’s there that Mrs. Flint soon sends her back to jail. Linda is proud of her daughter for her instinctual... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three: Still in Prison
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
...Moreover, Grandmother becomes seriously ill herself and Linda is unable to take care of her. Mrs. Flint won’t let Aunt Nancy leave her house to take care of Grandmother, but to avoid... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
As Mrs. Flint leaves, she notices Benny’s wound and announces her wish that the dog had killed the... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Six: Important Era in My Brother’s Life
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...slave holders call him a “base, ungrateful wretch,” they would have done the same thing. Mrs. Flint is heard to say that she’s glad Mr. Sands has been outwitted by the slaves,... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Seven: New Destination for the Children
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Mr. Sands has brought a wife back from the North, and Mrs. Flint threatens to inform her that he’s been involved with an “artful devil” and has two... (full context)
Motherhood and Family Theme Icon
When the Flints find out that Ellen has been sent away, they are very disgruntled. Mrs. Flint says that Mr. Sands has shown bad character by acknowledging his enslaved children, and says... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Aunt Nancy
Women Theme Icon
...married to another slave, but her marriage has no legal standing. She normally sleeps outside Mrs. Flint ’s bedroom, in case the mistress needs her; she doesn’t even get to leave her... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Mrs. Flint and Aunt Nancy become pregnant at roughly the same time, but Aunt Nancy still has... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
...daughter. Even the Flints are touched by the obvious bond between mother and daughter, although Mrs. Flint is overcome with “shock” at losing her best servant. Dr. Flint reminds Grandmother how much... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...Aunt Nancy’s death, although Uncle Phillip assures her she died happy. Linda reflects bitterly that Mrs. Flint “rendered her poor foster-sister childless, apparently without any compunction” and forced her to work without... (full context)
Chapter Forty-One: Free At Last
The Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery Theme Icon
Linda is still in danger, as she receives word that Mrs. Flint is encouraging her daughter to recapture her former slave, and Mrs. Dodge’s husband is an... (full context)