When Linda was having conflicting emotions about her children and whether or not she wanted them to live, I was reminded of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I think the same themes of slavery, and the strong motherly drive to protect even if that means no life at all are evident in both works. Linda makes the statement several times that slavery leaves no room for morals. Her life certainly proves this point. At some point, the slave has to decide if she is going to be true to herself and the ones that she loves, which will most likely end in death, or if she is going to choose life however hellish it may be.
Even though a large portion of her hope goes away with her first true love, hope is a recurrent theme in this work that keeps leaving and then returning again with a new idea of how to obtain a better life for herself, and then the ultimate crushing of all her plans. Hope is what keeps Linda going throughout this work. As soon as she gives up hope, she gives up her life essentially. She has then surrendered to the fate that the world has decided to hand her.
One question I have: Is this Jacob's story with Linda posing as herself? Did she not want to use her own name?