Slave Cultures

In a clearly written paper of 1,000- words construct a thoughtful essay that engages with gender in Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave. After reading the book write an essay which analyzes how the institution of slavery shapes gender as a social construction. Another words, how does Jacob’s slave narrative provide us a way of seeing how society shapes gender roles in both white and slave cultures and for men and women? Your paper should follow the basic essay format of an introduction (1 paragraph), body (3-7 paragraphs), and conclusion (1 paragraph). Use the introduction to present general information important in contextualizing gender in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl—here you can summarize the book. At the end of the introduction, form an argument that clearly states how you intend to talk about gender in the paper. For example: In this paper I’m going to argue that Jacob’s work shows that the social construction of gender shaped the work space, family, and the access to education, in both white and slave cultures. (You’ll need to come up with your own argument). Next, (if you follow along with my argument above) the body should have a paragraph about the work space, a paragraph about family, and a paragraph about the education. In all reality, you might even have two paragraphs for each of those themes, given the fact that they are big subjects. Each of these paragraphs should have or use evidence from the book to back your claims. If you quote, do it sparingly and you need to cite whatever evidence you use from the book. Most importantly, use specific incidents from the book to back your claims.  Finally, use the conclusion to raise any concerns or problems you may have with the book. In this section, do not summarize or repeat what you just wrote about. And, do not critique gender during the Antebellum period. You already had your chance to do that in the paper. This section should be critical of the book as a historical source. For example: it is well documented in the historical record that very few slaves received an education. Therefore, who wrote this narrative. Did Jacob’s really write this slave narrative in this complex way. Even if Jacob’s did receive an education, it was not an elaborate one that would have allowed her to produce this work. So, did she have help? And if so, did this person change the narrative. We need to consider this before taking everything a face value because chances are, this might not be entirely Jacob’s words. Also, this book is saturated with biblical references. She claims to have lived in an attic or crawlspace for seven years. Is that believable? Is that the same amount of time Jonah lived in the whale. Is this really Jacob’s experience, or did she repurpose the biblical story to lend credibility to her own struggle. Do you see how this is exposing concern about the content, not the ideas? The overall assignment will make you think and write critically about race and gender during the pre-Civil War era according to Harriett Jacobs. The critical conclusion will sharpen your confidence to critically evaluate a source based on its merit. This assignment illuminates two important Edge Advantages, critical thinking and confidence, and will hone your analytical skills in the professional or academic work place.

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