Analysis Of The Movie 12 Years A Slave Essay

Analysis Of The Movie 12 Years A Slave Essay

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12 Years a Slave is an accurate adaptation of what slavery was like in the southern United States. The movie does not try to exaggerate the hardships the slaves went through, nor does it try to down play their suffering. This paper will compare the movie to primary sources from that time period, as well as the book the movie is based off of.
The movie 12 Years a Slaves is a true story about Solomon Northup, a free African American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Northup was introduced to two men named Hamilton and Brown. They offered Northup a job to travel and perform with them in Washington. After a night of drinking Northup woke up in a cellar chained to the floor. He was approached by a slave trader named Burch. Northup attempted to explain he was a free man and that they had no right to keep him there. Burch’s response to Northup’s pleas was, “You aint a free man, your nothing but a Georgia runaway.” Northup protested the accusations, so Burch whipped him while yelling, “You’re a slave, you’re a Georgia slave.” Northup had no choice but to agree.
Northup was bought by a plantation owner named Mr. Ford. Northup made the mistake of showing his new master how intelligent he was. This caused an over-seer named Tibeats to become jealous. He would be cruel Northup for no reason other than to see him suffer. They eventually got into a brawl, after Northup was forcibly removed from Tibeats, Tibeats screamed, “I will have flesh and I will have all of it.” Mr. Ford had no choice but to sell Northup to another plantation owner, for his own safety.
Edward Epps became Northup’s new master. Epps is known for being able to break unruly slaves, he strict and cruel. If a slaves does not pick more pounds of cotton in one ...


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...ng until night, the whole day long.” In the book Northup also describes how he was forced to whip Patsey, because she left without permission to get soap. Epps decided to severely punish her to teach her a lesson about going to Shaw’s Plantation. After striking Patsey over thirty times Northup states, “I stopped, and turned round toward Epps, hoping he was satisfied; but with bitter oaths and threats, he ordered me to continue.” Northup later describes the condition of Patsey’s lacerations stating, “I may say, without exaggeration, literally flayed.”
The examples found in the various primary sources written by former slaves, show that the movie adaption of 12 Years a Slave is an accurate representation of life for slaves in the Southern United States. The movie does not over dramatizes the treatment of the slaves, and it stayed true to Solomon Northup’s book.

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