104 pages 3 hours read

Harriet Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1861

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. What were the origins of slavery in the United States? How did this institution of slavery affect women differently than men? What unique challenges did slavery present to women?

Teaching Suggestion: Harriet Jacobs, who referred to herself as Linda Brent, describes her experiences as an enslaved woman in the Southern United States. Jacobs details the cruelty of slavery, describing her personal struggles as a woman and mother. To introduce this text, consider discussing or offering direct instruction on the origins of slavery, the treatment of enslaved people, and the experiences of enslaved women.

  • This 6-minute video describes the Atlantic slave trade chronicling the rise of slavery in Europe and the United States.
  • This 11-minute video explains the evolution of slavery in the United States after the establishment of the Atlantic slave trade.

2. Why did the North and the South differ so greatly when it came to the issue of slavery? Why did slavery persist in one geographical area of the country and not another? Why might self-emancipated people have moved to the North?