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4.19.2: Reading and Review Questions

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    1. In Chapter I, how does Jacobs convey the sense of her and her grandmother’s innate equality with the whites who own them? How, if at all, does she use this sense of equality to indicate the slaveholders’ hypocrisy, immorality, and inhumanity?
    2. In Chapter VII, how does the institution of slavery, and the human beings who enforce it, pervert significant events generally considered universal in a young woman’s life, events including first love, marriage, and family? What are the ironies of the whites’ attitudes towards Jacobs’s desires and self-defenses?
    3. In Chapter X, Jacobs gives herself sexually to the white man whom she loved and who wanted to marry her but could not legally do so. In “confessing” this behavior, why is Jacobs so concerned with purity? What motivations help her overcome her reluctance to be “impure?” How does the institution of slavery itself compel Jacobs to take this course? What is Jacobs suggesting about the impact of slavery on the moral characters of the enslaved (nurture vs. nature)?
    4. In Chapter XXI, why does Jacobs endure such a restricted and painful confinement at her grandmother’s home? What consoles her during this confinement? Why?
    5. In Chapter XLI, what ironies, if any, does Jacobs note in her situation of having to be sold in order to be free? How do America’s laws contribute to the irony? How do America’s laws contribute to the ironies of the Dodges’ economic problems and the “value” in which they hold Jacobs?

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