house slaves had better lives than slaves who were forced to work in the fields.
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For a house slave, being sent to the fields was a punishment. The work was far more difficult and physically debilitating. Thus, working as a house slave was considered preferable to the fields.
He was jealous of his son; and jealousy of the overseer had kept him from punishing me by sending me into the fields to work.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl