Incidents in the Life Of A Slave Girl

Linda Brent

The conditions of this master-slave relationship are that the slave
(Linda) is there to do work for her mistress, or master, which is now her sister'
s daughter. Linda is supposed to take care her new owner's five year old
daughter, help plant things, take care of any animals and anything else she is
told. As a slave, she should also do everything else she is told by her master.
“After a brief period of suspense, the will of my mistress was read, and we
learned that she had bequeathed me to her sister's daughter, a child of five
years old.” I think that before her former master died and she was sent to her
master's sister's daughter, the conditions were different. Linda's master
taught her how to read and spell, which was a privilege, because most slaves
were not taught how to do this. “While I was with her, she taught me to read and
spell; and for this privilege, which so rarely falls to the lot of a slave, I
bless her memory.”

Chapter II
The author's purpose for including this chapter is to show just how
unfairly, and cruelly slaves (she) were treated. People saw the slaves as
scapegoats and were blamed for everything. She gives many examples of situations
in which someone (one of the masters or mistresses) wasn't happy with something
and blamed it on the slave(s), forcing them to deal with the harsh consequences.
An example is when the cook sends dinner out to Dr. Flint. Sometimes, when he
does not like a dish, the cook gets whipped, other times he shoves all the food
down the her throat until she chokes. I feel that this is very offensive
treatment because that is not a justified reason to do something, as severe as
choking someone. Even though she was one of his slaves, instead of doing that,
he could have just told her, or even yelled, to cook something different-she
would have gotten the point. I guess Dr. Flint, just like many other whites,
felt he had to use violence to punish her (even though I totally, strongly,
disagree with his decision, it was probably a “regular” thing to do during that
time period. She being a slave, was probably used to it.

Chapter V
Linda shows her strong moral character in many ways. When she was a
young girl, and pre-teen, she was offered many of the same things that the
mistress's children were offered. Even though she thought this as only fair,
she still offered her help to the members of the family in return for their
kindness. Linda also knew that people were to be treated with respect. When Dr.
Flint, repeatedly called her bitter names, and abused her, deep down she knew it
wasn't right, and felt he was corrupting her and her pure mind, but chose not to
say anything for fear of her serious consequences, even death. She just keeps
going on with her life, helping him and his family, deep down inside knowing
what he was doing was unjust and cruel.

I think that it was very ignorant of the slaveholders to tell their
slaves vicious lies about the North. First of all, some of the slaves could
read. Being able to read meant being informed (newspapers) of worldly news,
such as what was occurring in the North. Did some of the slaveholders really
think that their slaves would believe these stories? In Linda's case, a
slaveholder once told her that one of her friends, also being a slave, was in
horrendous shape, pleading to be returned to her master. Linda later found out
this whole story was untrue, and that this former slave never wished to return
to slavery. I'm sure that many slaveholders did this as a tactic to get slaves
to think that they had it “good”. The slaveholders probably thought that if
they could make the North sound terrible, and impossible to survive in, their
slaves wouldn't want to run away. Although this may have worked in some cases,
I'm sure the slaves weren't that naive.

After her son was born, Linda has mixed emotions of love and pain. In
one sense she loves her son very much and wants his life to continue. She said
that when she was sad or depressed, all she had to do was look at him, or watch
him “slumber” and she would be happy. In the other sense, she felt like she was
hurting her son and