Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition




In her bibliography, Incidents in the life of a Salve Girl, Harriet Ann Jacobs appropriates the autobiographical "I" in order to tell her own story of slavery and talk back to the dominant culture that enslaves her. Through analysis and explication of the text, this thesis examines Jacobs' rhetorical and psyshological evolution from slave to self as she struggles against patriarchal power that would rob her of her identity as well as her freedom. Included in the discussion is an analysis of the concept of self in western plilosophy, an overview of american autobiography prior to the publication of Jacobs' narrative, a discussion of the history of the slave narrative as a genre, and a discussion of the history of Jacobs' narrative.