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


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

Water symbolism, and especially that of the river, is integral to Harriet ***** Incidents in the ***** ***** a Slave Girl. Rivers, with their 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 ***** physical locations. Rivers divide cites like Philadelphia and they provide natural borders between cities ***** states. Rivers also help delineate the North and the South, which in ********** time was eminently significant. Therefore, the ***** is a metaphorical ***** between slavery and freedom. The oppressive plantations of the south are separated from the Free States in the north by these flowing bodies of water. In Harriet Jacobs' ***** in the Life of a Slave Girl, rivers extend into larger bodies ***** water ***** ***** Chesapeake Bay, ***** provide access to the various modes of transportation available at the time like rowboats and larger transport vessels. For ***** slave, ***** Jacobs in **********, the river implies a literal journey from one place to the next, and th***** physical ***** parallels the journey from *****ry 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 raging ***** can drown a man ***** James or the wo***** described in Chapter XXII, killing their pain. However, more than anything, the ***** is a me*****ns ***** escape in *****' narrative; it is the place of freedom. As such, the river can ***** safe passage from the south to ***** Free ***** ***** the north. As Jacobs notes on page 237, the river was "safe method for escape." Because the river offers a ***** ***** ***** *****, it ***** functions *****s a symbol of spiritual liberation throughout Incidents in the Life of a Sl*****ve 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 risks in order to escape their tyrannical m*****ters. Because of the geography ***** the states Jacobs lived in dur*****g ***** course of ***** life, rivers serve an integral purpose ***** the narrative. Moreover, ***** is an overarching motif in Incidents in the Life ***** a Slave *****. ***** example, ***** describes her gr*****mo*****r as "sinking under ***** burdens," (228). The imagery of "sinking" parallels the other inst*****ces of river and water ********** in the *****. The horrors of *****ry are like weights dragging ***** soul down ***** 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, ***** ***** ***** ***** *****. The first occurs on page 36, in ***** IV.

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