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 Slave Girl"

Water symbolism, ***** especially that of the river, is integral to Harriet ***** Incidents in the Life ***** a Slave *****. Rivers, with their winding waters, are not just part of the geographic landscape or ***** natural world. For Jacobs, rivers 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, the river is a metaphorical ***** between slavery and freedom. The oppressive plantations of ***** south are separated from the Free States in the north by these flow*****g bodies of water. In Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a ***** Girl, rivers extend into larger bodies of ***** ***** ***** Chesapeake Bay, ***** ***** access to the various modes of transportation available at the time like rowboats and larger transport vessels. For the slave, and Jacobs in **********, the river implies a literal journey from one place ***** the next, and th***** physical ***** parallels the journey from slavery to freedom. The ***** ***** symbolizes ***** lifetime journey ***** birth and death. The river is described frequently in the text as a pl*****ce ***** death. The rag*****g ***** can drown a man ***** James or the wo***** ***** 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 ***** ***** ***** the north. As Jacobs *****es on page 237, the river ***** "safe method for escape." Because the river offers a s*****fe ***** ***** freedom, it also ***** as a symbol of spiritual liberati***** throughout Incidents in the Life of a Sl*****ve Girl.

***** Jacobs, writing under the pseudonym Linda Brent, illustrates her twenty-seven years spent ***** a slave and her numerous journeys along the way. Her friends and family members frequently had to take risks in order to escape ********** tyrannical masters. ***** of the geography ***** the states ***** lived in dur*****g the course of ***** life, ***** serve an integral purpose ***** the narrative. Moreover, water is an overarching motif in Incidents in the Life ***** a Slave *****. ***** example, Jacobs describes her gr*****dmo*****r as "sinking under her burdens," (228). ***** imagery of "sinking" parallels the other instances ***** river and water ***** in the *****. The horrors of *****ry 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 ***** river to commit suicide, ***** ***** ***** their burdens. The first occurs on page 36, in Chapter IV.

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