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What was life like for Harriet Jacobs as a young slave in the south? |

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Harriet Jacobs, named Linda Brent in the book, lives in Edenton, a small town in northeastern North Carolina. Her early childhood is not what many readers would imagine, as her father was a skilled craftsman who was allowed to keep much of the money he made. Her family actually lived in a comfortable house compared to most other enslaved people, and her grandmother was also a skilled baker. Her life changed when she was twelve years old. Her mistress died, and Harriet became the property of her mistress's niece. She lived in the home of Dr. Flint, her former mistress's brother-in-law. With Dr. Flint, life as an enslaved young woman was almost intolerable. She became the target of his relentless sexual advances, and these in turn made her the object of jealousy of Dr. Flint's wife. Jacobs depicts this experience in all of its horror, providing examples of how she was at once innocent and exploited, but also capable of resisting Dr. Flint and the evils of slavery in general. She consistently resists Dr. Flint, and even enters into a sexual relationship, and has two children, with another white man, believing he can provide her with a means of gaining freedom. Still, it is a measure of how miserable her condition is that she hides for seven years in her grandmother's small crawlspace before escaping. So in the life of Harriet Jacobs, readers are invited to see all of the evils of slavery.

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