The History of Mary by Mary Prince Essay

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  608 Words
Date:  2022-09-04

Mary Prince, the author of The History of Mary, was born into slavery, at age of twelve she was sold out to Captain John Ighan. Ighan was always cruel to her, and frequently punished, even at her tender age. She was lattes sold to Mr. D, Prince first encounter at Mr. D house was sexual abuse. She got married to Davis James a former slaves in 1826, but John Adams her new master disapproves. In 1829, she begun to work at Mr. Thomas House who assisted her to edit her story that was published in 1831.

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History of Mary is both bibliography and literature piece written by Mary Prince, it is one of the earliest personal narratives that uncover the ugly truth regarding slavery in the West Indies. Mary Prince dedicated her writing to the English reading public who had no idea of its atrocities. The narrative is a familiar slave story in the content, form, and, theme; it has some similarities to the recording of slave abuse reported in the Anti-Slavery reports that were written around the period of its publication in London.

Her writings concentrated on the physical details of her abuse and other women as well as the physiological experience they had in captivity. While most of the 18th-century slaves' narratives concentrated on Christian spiritual journeys and religious restoration, this narrative took a form of abolitionist writers that was focusing on addressing the injustices of women. The book has a similar theme with narratives such as A Narrative of the Adventure. Through the narration of her slavery life, Prince was able to depict the clear picture that life of Black woman in West Indian.

Mary Prince through her narratives she manages to bring into the attention of the Woman's suffering in the society during her era. In her book, Prince recounts her slavery life both Bermuda and in Antigua. Through personal narrative, she gives an illustration of women physical, sexual and, psychological abuse as well as continuous abusive domestic relationship within white farm-owning families. In the story, she describes how shameful it was for the women slaves to be stripped naked before being whipped. One instance that touched her most is when Mr. D would strip himself in front of her naked, commanding Mary Prince to wash him ( Prince, 34), such descriptions shows the intensity of the harassment women were facing in bondage. Most male narratives such as Douglass' only touched on general challenge both gender faced during slavery. Therefore, Mary focusing on women's problem made her writings unique. Stevenson (282) claims that most of the slaves despite the gender experienced discrimination, violence, and, racism during their period of slavery. Slaves had to live in severe poor conditions, forced to take extensive labor and to have only the simple requirements (Stevenson, 290), Through Mary's history, ones get to know female experience with slavery was different from male experience. The book describes experience such as the mother being separated from her child, women being forced to be submissive, women's' domestic roles and worse being the high chances of women to be victims of sexual abuse from their masters. Hence, Mary narrative implies that women were exposed to more risks of exploitation, sexual, and, psychological abuse.


Mary concentrating her writings on women's' experiences as a way of capturing attention to the cultural systems that nurture a human community under captivity makes her book unique; moreover, touching on gender issues make her book relevant in the contemporary society.

Works Cited

Prince, Mary. "The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave." British Literature 1780-1830.

Stevenson, Brenda E. "Family and community in slave narratives." The Oxford handbook of the African American slave narrative (2014): 277-297.

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The History of Mary by Mary Prince Essay. (2022, Sep 04). Retrieved from

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