Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Theme analysis

Annie Dillard, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author, once said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” People should spend their days trying to improve their lives instead of living with what one already has. Jacob’s quote, “Lives that flash in sunshine, and lives that are born in tears receive their hue from circumstances,” encompasses this theory.

One who is born in sunshine will not always remain in the sunshine likewise one who is born in tears does not have to live in tears forever. This quote is a recurring theme throughout the whole book. Jacobs starts the book with Linda living in “tears” and ending in “sunshine.” Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl illustrates the theme in which life can be born in “tears” and then can be changed to a life with “sunshine” as shown with the turning of Linda’s life from bad to good.

Jacob’s quote is a major theme throughout the book. She carries this theme throughout the book by showing the transformation of Linda’s life from bad to good. The book reads, “When we entered our new home we encountered cold looks, cold words, and cold treatment” (7). This quote shows how she was born in “tears.” Jacob’s then shows how one can go from “tears” to “sunshine.” Linda narrates, “I and my children are now free”(207). Jacobs uses the analogy of “tears” to “sunshine” and slavery to freedom. This theme is carried out through the whole book by showing the progression of Linda from slavery to freedom.

The theme teaches a valuable lesson to everyone. It teaches that one who is born in “sunshine” will not necessarily stay in “sunshine and that one born in “tears” will not necessarily stay in “tears.” One can improve their status by working hard and efficiently for a better life. One person who can be exemplified is Benjamin. Uncle Phillip once said, “Mother, Ben is free! I have seen him in New York” (25). He was born into slavery. He wanted to live in a life of “sunshine.” He worked hard and efficiently to escape the horrors of “tears” or slavery. One can work for a better life was a lesson taught in Jacob’s book. One’s future is not etched in stone.

The quote is very relevant to Linda’s life. It shows the progression from slavery to freedom, “tears” to “sunshine.” The quotes, “I was a slave”(5) and “I and my children are now free!”(207), shows the transformation of Linda. She was once a slave born in “tears” and she dies as a free woman in “sunshine”. The significance of this quote is very important to compare to Linda’s life. Linda’s life is based on this quote. The relevance of Linda’s life is from slavery to freedom.

Jacob’s expertly uses the theme of “sunshine” and “tears” throughout the whole book. She carries the theme throughout the whole book. She teaches the lesson of being able to go from bad to good, “tears” to “sunshine.” One’s life is not etched in stone. The quote is very relevant since Linda’s life is based on the template of “tears” and “sunshine.” Jacob illustrates the theme by writing the biography of her own life by showing her progression through slavery.

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