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Comparative Essay


Thetwo texts Victor Lavelle`s &quotDevil in Silver and Harriet Jacobs&quotthe incident in life of a slave girl” can be put intocomparison by comparing the different character. For example, Victorpresents Horror when pepper is visited by a terrifying creature whileHarriet Jacobs “incidents in life of a slave girl” presentshorrors of slavery. Both stories converge in the blink of theproblems encountered by different characters. The article aims tocompare the two texts and instances where they intersect citingevidence from the bottom line of the stories. The story portrays thedevelopment of a character, for instance, Pepper is presented as theundisputed star. His journey from an angry fellow to mentallyunhinged to a more contemplative schmoe and less angry is well pacedand gripping.

VictorLavelle’s &quotDevilin Silver&quot

Thedevil in silver presents compelling themes that ignite Victor`sfiction. For example, race, faith, madness, class and therelationship with the uncanny and the unseen. In addition, it is asuspenseful work of literary horror about, love, friendship, and thecourage to face the demons inherent in us. Victor brings brilliantlythe themes. The new HydeHospital`s psychiatric ward has both new and old resident. Pepper isa huge man with much influence. He is presented as a trouble maker inthe minor league, working class hero, and an inmate of a mentalinstitution that is budget strapped (LaValle31).

Meanwhile,Pepper is not mentally unstable which does not seem to matter. Inaddition, he is accused of a crime but he cannot trace it in hismemory. In a dark room, a terrifying creature visits him. Thecreature has a body of an old man and a bison’s head that nearlygot him killed before being bustled away by the staffs in thehospital. In fact, the instance is not a delusion since the otherpatients confirms that a hungry devil was roaming in the hallway whenthe night fell (LaValle 39). Pepperorganizes a rally to fight back. Dorry, an octogenarianschizophrenic, knows the secrets since he has been in hospital fordecades. Coffee, an African immigrant desperately tries to send analarm to the external world though he has a severe OCD. Loochie, abipolar teenage girl, acts as an enforcer of the group. As they tryto battle the pill pushing staff, they join hands to kill the monsterwho has been stalking them (LaValle 40).

HarrietJacobs &quotincident in the life of a slave girl&quot

HarrietJacobs &quotincidents in the life of a slave girl,&quot present thereason behind her writing a story. Her story expresses the pain thatshe passed through. The story as she says would have preferred tokeep private but feels that making it known to the people would be atool to help the antislavery movement. Jacob uses pseudonym LindaBrent in narrating her personal account. Born into slavery, Lindaspent all her early life in a happy family together with her fatherand mother, a relatively well off slaves. At six, her mother dies andshe is sent to live with the mistress of her mother (Jacobsand Farah 23)

Themistress is good and teaches her to read. After many years, themistress dies and Linda is sent to live with her relatives. The newmasters are very neglectful and cruel. For example, Dr. Flint beginsto pressure her into a sexual relationship. This continues for manyyears as she tries to struggle against his overtures. Dr. Flintscontinues threatening and pressuring her to the point that she defiesand outwits him. Since she knew that Flint would eventually getground, she consents to an affair with a white neighbor, Mr. Sands.Nevertheless, she says that she is ashamed of the illicitrelationship but prefers it to being raped by Flint. Together withMr. Sands, they have two children, Ellen and Benny. Linda, in herargument, states that a slave girl who is powerless cannot live inthe same standard as a free woman. Practically, she has every reasonto have an affair by hoping that when Flint finds out, he will sellto Sands in disgust. Instead, Flint sends her to his plantation sothat she could be broken in the field (Jacobs andFarah 25)

Shethen realizes that her children will receive similar treatment so,she comes up with a desperate plan. Escaping to the Northern partswould be merely impractical. Submitting unwillingly to Flint, shehides in attic crawl space in her grandmother`s house. In so doing,she hopes that Flint would have a false impression that she had goneto the north, will sell Linda`s children rather than risking havingthem disappear as their mother. In a similar regard, Mr. Sandspromises that one day he will free the children and then send them toAunt Martha. Nevertheless, the triumph of Linda comes at a highprice the longer she stays in the garret where she can barely move,the more she becomes debilitated physically. Finally, Mr. Sandsbecomes a congressman and marries. Linda escapes to the north by boatleaving her children with Aunt Martha (Jacobs 26).

Wherethe two text Intersect

Thetwo set of books share a common aspect of horror Harriet Jacobpresents instances of horror of slavery while the Devil in Silver initself is a horror story.

Horrorof Slavery

Harrietargues that Slavery destroys the morality of those holding the slavewithout exception. Dr. Flint is a slave holder with a heart of amonster. If there is no legal check on the behavioral capabilities ofthe slave holders, conceivable torture is subjected to theirservants. Meanwhile, the slave masters recognize slaves as animals orobject in no way acknowledging their humanity. Conversely, some slavemaster can betray their slaves when it is profitable or convenientfor them. For example, Mr. Sand promises to free his slave children.Nevertheless, in the system of slavery, such good intentions areforgotten easily. If a slave master encounters a problem financiallyviable, he can sell his slave children to get out of trouble thusdistorting the basic emotional instinct parent-child love. (Jacobsand Farah 27).

Horrorstory in Devil in Silver

Pepperthe protagonist has roughed a number of undercover cops. He meant torough them to be cops. In retribution, they are stuck in him in amental hospital for 72 hours. Pepper is under no circumstance crazy.The story is a horror story taken down in the mental health system.In the same respect, it is homage to psychological thriller. Incomparison to Victor Lavalles &quotDevil in Silver, Pepper is thrustinto an intriguing situation void of iota of control is feasible totest an individual`s temper and patience. Nevertheless, he is a bigguy with a habit of making hard decisions and a hot temper. He has towait for seventy two hours (LaValle 35).

Freedomand confinement

Lindasays that she is still waiting to have a home of her dream. She has adesire to have a comfortable home for herself and children s evidentthroughout the book, which displays the essence of freedom. Duringthe time of Harriet, women were looked down upon and confined withinthe domestic spheres. In fact, women were perceived as house wivesand thus unfit for other life. This stipulates the aspect that theydo not have any say as a result of the notion that their work ishaving children. The slaves lack mental freedom. Conversely, Linda isa slave with a relatively easy life and thus does not have to endurethe beatings that are regularly accorded to them. Nevertheless, sheand other slaves suffer emotional anguish since they have beendeprived off the legal protection and basic human right (Jacobs26). In contrast, in the &quotdevil, in silver&quot Pepperis confined in a mental hospital after the cops shirk their ownpaperwork and combat him. Pepper is under the confines of anger andthat was the reason he drinks too much. Pepper is ditched by NYPD,thus lacking family ties to report him missing. He is further gorgedon an involuntary Lithium and Haldol regimen, suffering chemicalnightmare of a sane person. The loss of mental and physical freedomis not unconventional. The attack of the patients in New Hyde’shospital portrays instances of depriving the freedom by the devilthat feeds on the ever supply of the patients making them vulnerableand hopeless. The 72 hour psych that pepper held slipped intoindefinite confinement making him powerless (LaValle39).

Howthe friends influences the main characters

Theroaming monster in the hospital halls is quite sensible. Patients whohave been hospital will sense the presence of a horror house. Victorhas a history of bipolar and schizophrenia which has been in threegenerations of his family. &quotI have intimate information on thementally ill system and the life of the public hospitals and thetreatment of people there and the means of survival.&quot As aresult, he is admitted to hospital though he cannot trace the crimein his memory (LaValle 32). Linda is taken fromher family at the tender age of six. Her mistress acts as amother though at times in her will she treats her as property. Bybeing raised in an enslaved family, Linda is denied right to raiseher children (Jacobs and Farah 30).

Evidenceof Shared Concern or Difference

Bothstories have a shared concern where the characters try to fight theexternal forces. In the “incident life of a slave girl” the storyshows the pain that Linda passed through. She is a woman born intoslavery and gives her story to help the antislavery movement (Jacobsand Farah 30). In a similar respect, Victor Lavalles presentsPepper a minor-league trouble maker. In his own mind, he is aworking-class hero. He is presented as mentally ill since he isaccused of a crime that he cannot trace in his mind. He is visited bycreatures that are terrifying and he organizes a rapport to defendhimself with other patients. The creature is itself a horror that isdetrimental to their well being (LaValle 32).In comparison, Harriet Jacob presents slavery as a horror in whichLinda is entangled in and she cannot live a more comfortable life.


Bothstories present the happenings in the spheres of our society.Historically, slavery was a horror that was a nightmare to people. Incomparison, the Devil in Silver where Pepper and other patients arepresented shows a horror story where the patients in the new HydeHospital`s psychiatric ward encounter a terrifying creature that hasbeen haunting them for decades. Similarly, Linda encounters chains ofslavery presented by Dr. Flint who wants at all cost to take her.Furthermore, he wants her to engage in a sexual relationship withhim. She then had to fake a relationship with Mr. Sand who at thelong run his transcendental reason is to benefit from the aspects ofslavery when he marries Linda. She hopes that, by faking, Mr. Flintwill sell her to Sand in disgust but instead she is sent to theplantation to be broken there.


Jacobs, Harriet and Farah Jasmine. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl:Written by Herself. New York: Barnes &amp Noble Classics, 2005.Print.

LaValle,Victor D. The Devil in Silver: A Novel. New York: Spiegel &ampGrau, 2012. Print.