ABSTRACT

The tenth chapter of Harriet Ann Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life o f a Slave Girl (1861)1 unveils a range of slave-experiences belonging, in Lydia M aria Child’s prefatory phrase, “ to a class which some call delicate subjects, and others indelicate” (4). The chapter relates both the narrator’s subjection to the slavemaster’s sexual aggression and her resistance to him - through a secretive, confiding and eventually sexual relationship with another white townsman, who has expressed “ sympathy, and a wish to aid” her (54). The chapter’s title, “A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life,” carries a number of significances both within this episode and for the narrative as a whole.