Essay - A River Runs Through Her: River Imagery and Symbolism in...

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A River Runs Through Her: ***** Imagery and Symbolism in Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Sl*****ve Girl"

Water symbolism, ***** especially that of the river, is integral to Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the ***** ***** a Slave *****. Rivers, with ********** winding waters, are not just part of the geographic landscape or ***** natural world. For Jacobs, *****s and all bodies of water have both practical and symbolic functions. The river forms a physical barrier between places; it divides states and physical locations. Rivers divide cites like Philadelphia ***** they provide natural borders between cities and states. Rivers also help delineate the North and the South, which in Jacobs' time was eminently significant. Therefore, ***** river is a metaphorical barrier between slavery and freedom. The oppressive plantations of the south are separated from ***** Free States in the north by these flowing bodies of *****. In Harriet ***** ***** in the Life of a ***** Girl, rivers extend into larger ***** of water ***** ***** Chesapeake Bay, ***** ***** access to the various modes of transportation available at the time like rowboats ***** larger transport vessels. For ***** slave, and Jacobs in particular, the river implies a literal journey ***** one place ***** the next, and th***** physical ***** parallels ********** journey from slavery to freedom. The ***** also symbolizes the lifetime journey between birth and death. The river is described frequently in the text as a pl*****ce of *****. The rag*****g ***** can drown a man ***** James or the wo***** described in Chapter XXII, killing their pain. However, more than anything, the river is a me*****ns to escape in *****' narrative; it is the place of freedom. As such, the ***** can provide safe passage from the south to ***** ***** ***** ***** the north. As Jacobs notes on page 237, the river ***** "safe method for escape." Because the river offers a ***** p*****ssage to *****, it ***** functi*****s as a symbol of spiritual liberation throughout Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

***** *****, writing under the pseudonym Linda Brent, illustrates her twenty-seven years spent as a slave and her numerous *****s along the way. Her friends and family members frequently had to take r*****ks in order to escape their tyrannical m*****ters. ***** of the geography ***** the states Jacobs lived ***** during ***** course of her life, *****s serve an ***** purpose ***** the narrative. Moreover, water is an overarching motif in Incidents in the Life ***** a Slave *****. For example, Jacobs describes her gr*****mo*****r as "sinking ***** her burdens," (228). ***** imagery of "sinking" parallels the other instances ***** river and ***** symbolism in the *****. The horrors of slavery are like weights dragging the soul down into the depths ***** water. Here, water is a means to die. ***** narrator describes two key incidents in which slaves willingly used the river to commit suicide, to ***** drown *****ir *****. The first occurs on page 36, in ***** IV.


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