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She does not write as an abolitionist but as a committed witness—her book is a personal liberation. Brent is and remains an intradiegetic narrator and speaks for herself.

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This impossible fusion between the male slave and his lover is thus shown on two different levels. Both protagonists love each other dearly and have made plans together. Yet, the other key element separating them is their difference in status: she is a slave and he is a free Black. Any resulting children would belong to Dr. It thus becomes impossible for them to carry on loving each other. This marriage is a fake one, with no legitimacy whatsoever. Their conception of the world is not the same: she is a Christian and he does not believe in God.

In the world of the plantation such a difference can impede love, and to George, salvation lies in action rather than in prayers. Love between a Christian and a non-believer is impossible for Stowe. Even among slaves, there are huge religious and social gaps preventing free love. Moreover, in both situations, the master plays the same separating function.


He thinks he possesses her and develops a feeling of jealousy toward her black lover. Linda Brent is an object of desire and jealousy for her masters, which elevates her above the rank of a mere chattel. The master is allowed to possess her body but he cannot have access to her heart and he is strangely upset by this impossibility. Her love for a poor black man is something the master rejects as abnormal and disgusting. She has power over him and this is absolutely impossible for him to admit, provoking his anger and frustration.

I have wanted to make you happy, and you have repaid with the basest ingratitude; but though you have proved yourself incapable of appreciating my kindness, I will be lenient towards you, Linda. I will give you once more chance to redeem you […]. He prefers to keep her away from her lover, which she analyses as evidence of his hatred, but which might be proof of his weakness.

He is in fact a pathetic man living in sentimental misery but he is too much of a coward to be pitied by the reader. He is aware of his own qualities as a human being, which does not seem to be the case for Linda. His personality is described in strong and well-chosen words, which makes this protagonist easy to identify with. He is a very rebellious young man who resembles Linda Brent in many ways. Such a choice, because it implies desertion, would not be made by a woman. As we will see later, women need time before they escape and always choose to do so for their children.

In both texts, and regarding loving relationships between slaves, the master is always an agent of humiliation, of debasement and of separation. On the other hand, romantic—sexual—love brings one close to freedom, inner freedom. This is why, for the sake of discipline, the master supervises the sexual involvements of his female slaves and oversees the personal lives of the couples living on his plantation.

Symbolically, love is a way to achieve internal freedom and in such an oppressive context the masters cannot let love expand and develop. Stowe and Jacobs seem to come to the same conclusion: if love is made impossible by slavery, escaping from slavery might be the solution.

When human feelings are at stake, they can be seen to share the same creeds and their cultural differences are transcended by their belonging to the same essence, that is womanhood. Escape thus represents the will to live. At first, Linda does not really think about escaping herself. She assumes she is doomed to stay on the plantation because her master is obsessed with her, but she thinks her brother should run away and that she might join him later. In both texts, slave women are victimized, even as far as salvation and running away are concerned. Linda is physically imprisoned by Flint and Eliza is a prisoner of her faith.

Unlike Eliza, Linda has the willpower of a man, which may explain the fact that she fascinates Dr. For Brent, it seems to be an inner attitude: you can rebel by refusing the moral and psychological pressure of your master; it is thus a daily fight and escape would be the last step towards freedom.

A Woman Knows

Tom dies and Eliza runs away. Escape remains the only solution.

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The quest for freedom is just as strong and powerful given that the writer is its main agent in slave narratives, or its main spokesman in narratives about slaves. American antebellum literature, as it bridges all cultural gaps, clearly moves from the confinement of words and genres, to a place of freedom: written testimony.

At this stage, both books become places of freedom, even though the means to reach this freedom is not described in the same way. The decision to escape is made by the mothers, Eliza and Linda and what motivates their escape is the safety of their children and the potential reconstruction of a family nucleus somewhere else, far from the plantation.

Kolchin insists on the treatment of this hiding period of voyeurism in his book American Slavery:.

In the Beginning

Fugitives rightly feared being betrayed by slaves seeking to curry favor with authorities, but some runaways received food, shelter and guidance from sympathetic blacks, both slave and free: Harriet Jacobs hid for seven years in the attic of her grandmother, a respected free black woman who kept her secret and eventually helped her escape to the North Then, in a third stage, we can witness her leaving after a talk with her son. What is at stake is the salvation of the children.

In both passages, this urge to escape is palpable in the bravery and exhilaration of both women despite their physical pain: sore limbs and a weak body for Linda, exhaustion and wounds on her feet for Eliza. Stowe tries her best to reproduce the abnegation and courage of the fleeing mother in her book; this is something she can understand, it is beyond philosophy or politics.

She is worried about her black friends and those who are involved in the escape network. Freedom clearly has a price which is extremely high and could be fatal; the reader thus becomes involved in the process of escaping: his reading is a precious commitment for the sake of freedom as it gives testimony its real value. Shelby who tries to prevent Haley from running after Eliza and her son. Antebellum literature is created for readers to understand and believe what is revealed to them. In this new literary genre that emerged in the s in America, mingling two cultures—the white abolitionist and the black fugitive—the future of humanity is at stake.

They testify to the unbelievable strength of women and the moral weakness of societies ruled by the quest for progress and profit. In this way, they remain extremely modern. Oxford: OUP, New York: Geo. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co, Yellin Jean. Harvard: Harvard University Press, Boston: Beacon Press, Douglass Frederick, My Bondage and my Freedom. DuBois W. Harvard P. D Thesis, Harvard Historical Studies , vol. New York: Signet Classic, Female Slaves in the Southern Plantation South. New York: W. Norton, revised edition. Narrated by Himself.

Boston: Arthur D. Phelps, Kolchin Peter, American Slavery. New York: Penguin, Rawick George P. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, This artistic choice on Woolf's part serves to highlight the importance of clothing as a symbol of gender and status in society, particularly 17thth-century English society. It is clear how clothing changes "the world's view of us" from Orlando's experiences on the boat back to England: the crew treats her as if she were a modest, delicate, respected guest.

Particular moments—such as Orlando accidentally revealing an ankle, causing a crew member to almost fall overboard—drive home how women's bodies are sexualized and how fashion interacts with the societal norms created by this sexualization. However, it is interesting to note that Woolf also calls attention to how clothes "change our view of the world," meaning that wearing female clothes actually makes Orlando feel and act more female.

This idea acknowledges that societal norms concerning gender are not simple matters: they create a feedback loop that shapes an individual's psychology and worldview. When Orlando, now a woman, moves back to England, she enters 18th-century English high society. Woolf uses the upper-class culture of this period in English history to critique upper-class society in general, saying that rich people use parties and relationships as a facade for vapidity and social climbing. When Orlando goes to parties, especially with people who are considered witty or genius, she is struck afterward by how normal and even boring they are.

However, she is sucked in like anyone else: during the party, she finds everything delightful and basks in feelings of luckiness and importance. Throughout the book, a reader can trace Orlando's enchantment and disenchantment with wealthy people and high society; in the end, Orlando feels like an outsider to every society, always hanging somewhere in the middle. For it has come about, by the wise economy of nature, that our modern spirit can almost dispense with language; the commonest expressions do, since no expressions do; hence, the most ordinary conversation is often the most poetic, and the most poetic is precisely that which cannot be written down.

For which reasons we leave a great blank here, which must be taken to indicate that the space is filled to repletion. In Orlando's view or perhaps the narrator's , speech is not as important as the meaning behind it.