When he told me that I was made for his use, made to obey his command in every thing; that I was nothing but a slave, whose will must and should surrender to his, never before had my puny arm felt half so strong.

In this passage, Linda realizes that although Dr. Flint has complete legal authority over her, she nonetheless has the power to resist him. His goading causes her to erupt into the rebelliousness that will come to define her character and will direct the course of her future. The statement appears in Chapter IV, after Linda relates that Aunt Martha believes slavery to be God’s will. Linda and William, taught by their parents to view themselves as self-respecting human beings, do not agree with their grandmother’s submissive, fatalistic attitude. They both long to take control of their own destinies. Soon after her encounter with Dr. Flint, Linda advises William to be patient and forgiving in the face of Nicholas Flint’s abusiveness. However, as soon as she recommends this course of action, it occurs to her that she herself has no intention of submitting to Dr. Flint’s control. Linda realizes that she will never be able to bear slavery passively, and notes that the “war of [her] life had begun.” This is an important moment of awakening for her, in which she finds that although Flint owns her body, she can remain spiritually free.