FREE Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" Essay
“The American, from his earliest years, is absorbed in business. He can scarcely read and write before he becomes the first sound which strikes his ears is the first voice which he hears is that of interest; he breathes an atmosphere of trade from his very birth: and all his earliest impressions tend to fix in his mind, that a life of business is the only life suitable to man. The fate of a young girl is different, her moral education lasts to the day of her marriage: she acquires some knowledge of literature, of history—she usually learns a foreign language (most commonly the French),—she knows a little music. Her pursuits and feelings are of an intellectual cast. This young man and this young woman, so unlike each other, are united in marriage. The former, according to his habits, passes his time at the banking-house or the warehouse; the latter, who becomes solitary as soon as she has taken a husband, compares the lot which has fallen to her in real life, with the existence she had dreamed of. As nothing in the new world into which she has entered satisfies her affections, she feeds on chimeras, and reads novels. Having but little happiness, she is extremely religious, and reads sermons. When she has children, she lives among them, tends them, and caresses them. Thus she passes her life. In the evening the American returns home, anxious, unquiet, oppressed with fatigue. He brings to his wife the earnings of his labour, and broods already over the next day’s speculation. He calls for his dinner, and utters not another word; his wife knows nothing of the business which engrosses his thoughts; she is an insulated being even in the presence of her husband. The sight of his wife and children does not withdraw the American from his world; and it so rarely happens to him to give them marks of affection and tenderness, that the families in which the husband, after an absence, kisses his wife and children, are called, by way of nickname, In the eyes of the American, his wife is not a companion, but a partner, who assists him in laying out, for his well-being and comfort, the money he gains by his business. The sedentary and retired lives of the women in the United States, and the rigour of the climate, explain the general feebleness of their constitution: they rarely go from home, take no exercise, live on light food, they almost all have a great number of children; it is no wonder that they grow old so fast, and die so young.—Such is this lite of contrast, agitated, adventurous, almost febrile for men; dull and monotonous for women. It passes in this uniform manner, till the day when the husband informs the wife that he is a bankrupt, then they must remove, and begin again elsewhere the same sort of existence” (Vol. I, pp. 268-9.)
Incidents in the life of a slave girl essay
M. de Beaumont is no aristocrat, but a warm friend to the American Government, and to popular institutions generally. Nevertheless, we have read no book which has represented American social life in such colours, or which is more calculated to deter persons of highly-cultivated faculties and lofty aspirations, from making that country their abode. A part of this disagreeable impression is, no doubt, a consequence of the melancholy colouring given by that deplorable feature in American life on which the interest of the fictitious narrative chiefly turns—the inhuman antipathy against the negro race. The heroine of the story of is a girl of colour—or at least is reputed such, for the brand of degradation attaches not to colour, but to pedigree. Undistinguishable by any outward mark from women of purely European descent—the daughter of a man of weight and consideration in the State to which he belongs—she grows up to womanhood in ignorance of the defect in her genealogy, and with the feelings of a highly-educated and sensitive girl. At this period, by the malice of an enemy, it is bruited abroad, that, two or three generations before, a drop of negro blood had mingled itself with that of one of her ancestors, and had been transmitted to her. The remainder of the story is occupied with the misery brought upon this unfortunate girl, upon her brave and high-spirited brother, her father, and her lover, by the effects of that direful prejudice, so lamentable that we hardly know how to call it detestable.