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 ***** the Life of a Slave Girl"

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

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

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