Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl By Harriet A. Jacobs Character Analysis Aunt Martha

Aunt Martha is the stabilizing force in Linda's life. She also models many of the qualities that enable Linda to escape her bondage. A free woman and entrepreneur, Aunt Martha starts a bakery to earn money to buy her children's freedom. As a devout Christian with strong religious principles of right and wrong grounded in the Bible, Aunt Martha finds it difficult to forgive Linda for her sexual liaison with Mr. Sands, although she eventually relents, offering kindness and compassion, if not forgiveness.

Readers can presume that Aunt Martha is an imposing woman, because Dr. Flint is afraid of her because she once chased a white man with a gun for insulting one of her daughters. Aunt Martha provides a nurturing, loving home for Linda. She encourages her to stand by her children and risks her own life to protect Linda and her children. Conversely, she also discourages Linda's initial plans for escape. Her continuous struggle to keep her family together suggests that she is torn between wanting to see her children free and wanting to keep them safe at home.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After Linda escapes from Mr. Flint's plantation, her relatives advise her to do what?




Quiz