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 Sl*****ve Girl"

Water symbolism, ***** especially that of the river, is integral to Harriet ***** Incidents in the Life ***** a Slave Girl. 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 and 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 ***** between slavery and freedom. The oppressive plantations of the south are separated from ***** Free States in the north by these flowing bodies of water. In ***** ***** ***** in the Life of a Slave Girl, rivers extend into larger ***** ***** water like the Chesapeake Bay, which ***** access to the various modes of transportation available at the time like rowboats and larger transport vessels. For the slave, ***** Jacobs in particular, the river implies a liter*****l journey from one place to the next, and this physical ***** parallels the journey from slavery to freedom. The river also symbolizes the lifetime journey between birth and death. ***** river is described frequently in the text as a pl*****ce of *****. The rag*****g waters can drown a man like James or the wo***** ***** in Chapter XXII, killing their pain. However, more than anything, the ***** is a means ***** escape in Jacobs' narrative; it is the place ***** freedom. As such, the river can provide safe passage from the south to ***** Free ***** in the *****. As Jacobs *****es on page 237, the river was "safe method for escape." Because the river offers a ***** ***** to freedom, it ********** ***** as a symbol of spiritual liberati***** throughout Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

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

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