Life is a fairytale

Harriet Jacobs’ narrative as fairy tale? What a great argument!

Are you buying this?

We’re often told that fairy tales aren’t true, or that they’re idealistic. When we think of fairy tales we usually picture princesses, princes, wicked stepmothers or witches. We think of heros battling dragons, or damsels in distress.

So, my post is going to be a bit of a surprise for some people: The Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs is a fairytale. This is more than the novel just following Propp’s Functions. This is about the way that the way the characters are presented, and the way that the situations she describes mirror those of a fairy tale. “It has been said that fairy tales derive from the wishful thinking of poor people or those that have been unsuccessful or slighted.” (Luthi, 317) The very reason the slave narrative existed was to further the fight for freedom for those who were enslaved. The novels were sentimental…

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