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Solid essay about biographical determinism in former slavewriter Biography and History -- Harriet Jacobs The Life of a Slave Girl To be a good writer you must posess a careful balance between detachment and association a delicate waltz where you are not so wrapped up in the events of a story that it alienates the reader and yet not so far separated from the subject matter that the readers cannot get into it This is espectially the case in an autobiographical narrative In this case it is very difficult to detach yourself from the main subject matter that is yourself Yet it must remain a story and the story at its heart is a reconstruction of facts from the memory of the author In the case of Harriet Jacobs it was also important that she make sure the readers understood slavery from a womans perspective The hardships she had to endure not only entailed the work and the punishments but also the sexual aspect of being a slave-girl Her task is difficult because in order for the reader to really understand her position as a woman and a slave she must make the story extremely personal If it is too personal however the reader looses sight of the bigger picture and does not relate all these hardships to the condition of the general female slave She accomplishes this in two ways through her writing style and the writing content The style that the novel is written varies from a dialogue to a narrative depending on the subject matter being written about For example the dialogue where Mrs Flint confronts Linda Jocobs and asks her what has been going on with her husband is handled very effectively because as a conversation between two people we are able to pick up on the nuances of meaning Also it makes the situation seem to the reader as very exhilarating because we dont know whats going to
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