Home > Uncategorized > And the Wheel Just Keeps on Turnin’

And the Wheel Just Keeps on Turnin’

There was one passage in the second half of Incidents that really caught my attention. In “The Hairbreadth Escape” chapter, Jacobs describes the melancholy demeanor of her daughter and the cause behind it. On page 139 she says, “I did not discover till years afterwords that Mr. Thorne’s intemperance was not the only annoyance she [Ellen] suffered from him. Though he professed too much gratitude to my grandmother to injure any of her descendants, he had poured vile language into the ears of her innocent great-grandchild.”

For me, this passage connects back to what we were discussing about the last paragraphs of the book. Jacobs doesn’t end her book with “happily ever after” because slavery has perpetuated certain obstacles for that she will grapple with for the rest of her life. The same can be said for her daughter at this moment. Ellen is unfortunately getting a taste of the treatment her mother endured from Dr. Flint. We saw in Olmsted the generational degradation of the white slaveowners, and here and Jacobs we see the same is for the enslaved. Even in the north, Ellen is subjected to the sexual deviance of the south. I think this reenforces Jacobs’ point; that slavery doesn’t stop in the south. Its influences infiltrated the entire country.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. meganvestal
    March 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I think what astounds me most about all of the reading we have been doing in class is how well it all ties together. How many instances we have, like you pointed out, of one text and another repeating the same messages. I suppose it could be attributed to the common themes found in abolitionist writings, but each time an instance like this occurs it seems a ghost of the past is slowly resurrecting itself. Coming back to tell this story. I feel like we will never hear everything that occurred, but if this larger narrative is as horrible as these smaller ones, then it isn’t any wonder why the legacy of slavery still pervades this nation.

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