Essay about Dehumanization in Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup

Essay about Dehumanization in Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup

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Solomon Northup was born free, in Minerva, New York in 1808. Northup became known in his community as an exceptional fiddle player. When two men approached Northup and offered him good wages to go to Washington DC, to play in a travelling music show, he quickly accepted. Solomon Northup was drugged, kidnapped, captured, and sold into slavery. He served for many masters; some were violent and cruel while others treated him humanely. Solomon Northup experienced shear torture, cruelty, and the loss of his dignity, throughout his many years as a slave. After many years, he came in contact with an abolitionist, who sent letters to Northup’s family to notify them of his life and status. He was soon rescued from Louisiana and freed as a slave. The narrative of Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave reveals the lived experience of dehumanization of the male slave, female slave, and the masters during the slavery period in the American South.
. Slaves were dehumanized and treated more like animals than a fellow human being. Male slaves, and slaves in general were beaten and sold, auctioned and owned like objects. They were put to extremely hard labour, and daily suffering through physical and emotional abuse and violence. Solomon Northup describes the experience of being dehumanized in his narrative. When being sold and auctioned to perspective buyers, slaves had to be undressed and show off their physicality by jumping and dancing. Northup Explains,
“[They] would make us hold up our heads, walk briskly back and forth while customers would feel our hands and arms and bodies, turn us about, ask us what we could do, make us open our mouths and show our teeth, precisely as a jokey examines a horse which he is about to barter for or purc...


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... Jerusalem. The narrative of Twelve Years a Slave has proven that the American society, especially in the 1800s was not so simple and perfect as it seemed to be. The harsh realities of slavery, overrules the happy and perfect life. The tolls of dehumanization, affected everyone in society including men, women, slaveholder’s and their families. Although, at first glance the slavery in the American South might seem simple, it is shocking to see that it affected everyone involved. Solomon Northup says, “ To brutalize the humane and finer feeling of their nature-dying without attention, and buried without shroud or coffin- it cannot otherwise be expected, than that they should become brutalized and reckless of human life…inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one.” Inhumanity influences and takes a toll on society, and everyone involved.





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