Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – Dr. Flint

Although he is based on Harriet Jacobs’s real-life master, Dr. Flint often
seems more like a melodramatic villain than a real man. He is morally bankrupt
and lacks any redeeming qualities. He is thoroughly one-dimensional, totally
corrupted by the power that the slave system grants him. He sees no reason not
to use and abuse his slaves in any way he chooses, and he never shows any signs
of sympathy for them or remorse for his crimes. If Dr. Flint expresses kindness,
it is invariably a ruse to try to get Linda to sleep with him. Dr. Flint
represents the cruelty, callousness, and treachery of the entire slave system.
Dr. Flint loves power above all else, and it often seems that forcing
Linda to submit to him is more important to him than simply sleeping with her.
He is galled and infuriated by her defiance, and he becomes obsessed with the
idea of breaking her will. Rather than simply raping her, he persists in his
efforts make her acknowledge his mastery. When Linda escapes, he pursues her
relentlessly, putting himself hundreds of dollars in debt to chase her to New
York. After his death, his venom and determination seem to be reincarnated in
the form of his son-in-law, Mr. Dodge. Dr. Flint neither changes nor grows over
the course of the narrative. His malice, representing all of the evils of
slavery, appears to affect Linda even from beyond the grave.