Monday, October 22, 2007
Letters From A Slave Girl
Lyons, Mary E. Letters from A Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs.
Mary E. Lyons creates a fictionalized series of letters--consider them diary entries if you will--to tell the story of Harriet Jacobs to young readers in her novel Letters From A Slave Girl. When the reader first meets Harriet she is a young girl, a slave. But at the beginning her life isn’t all bad. But with the death of her mistress, Harriet is given to a new master. Her new master, Mr. Norcom, is not a good man. He’s “after” Harriet. Trying to escape her master’s sexual advances is not easy. And it becomes even more difficult when his wife starts to blame her for her husband’s behavior. But Harriet finds comfort--but not love--in the arms of another white man. Samuel. She and Samuel have two children: Joseph and Louisa. Of course he never claims his children. He never admits that they are his offspring. But Samuel does offer some hope to Harriet. At the very least, Mr. Norcom has stopped making advances towards her. But what he has in mind for Harriet and her children is not pleasant. He may give up on the idea of having Harriet in his bed, but he’ll never let her out that easy. Sent to the country plantation, she’s told that her children will work in the fields. I’m not sure if Harriet would be allowed to work in the house (as a cook, maid, seamstress) or if she would be in the fields as well. Regardless, Harriet has had about enough of being a slave. One thing is on her mind now: how to escape. It won’t be easy. But she’s determined. But escape means having to tell her young children goodbye...possibly forever. Can Harriet go through with her decision to run?