Contributions Of Violence In Solomon Northup's Twelve Years A Slave

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Solomon Northup’s account on slavery gives reader insight into the treatment of the slaves and how religion justified the masters’ acts of violence. “Twelve Years a Slaves”, illustrate Northup’s experiences with his three owners. Each owner treated their slaves differently and without exception they were all religious and use a sort of violence to keep their slave in order, whether it was by their own hands or their workers. The novel reveals how religion contributes to the treatment Northup and other slaves and how violence played a role of dehumanization. Before becoming a slave Solomon Northup was a well-respected freed man. He had a wife and two children and lived in a town where the community respected him and his talent playing the…show more content…
Many southerners took part in the evangelical reform, in fact those who did not take part of the reform where considered rebellious or witches who were later killed or burn at the stake. Solomon Northup’s’ also experienced his years as a slave when the reform became the model behavior. Northup makes evident that the reform effected the treatment of slaves by comparing the slave masters he was once under. For instance in (Northup-39) it states, “He never doubted the moral right of one man holding another in subjection, he was a model master, walking uprightly, according to the light of his understanding, and fortunate was the slave who came to his possession. Were all men such as he, Slavery would deprived of more then half it’s bitterness.” Northup describe the rational respect that he had for his first slave master William Ford. Mr. Ford was a noble Christian man, he knew his slave are humans and gave them the same respect he had given his own people in the community. He provided the slave with appropriate food, break, and sleep. Northup appreciated Ford for his treatment towards them. Though Ford enslave them he still treated them better than other slave…show more content…
Tibeats refused to treat the slave with the same respect as Ford did. Chaos stirred on the plantation which had Northup’s life in danger after an altercation with Tibeats. In fact Ford knew Northup was no ordinary man so before Tibeates can have his way, he trade Northup in hope to save his life. “There may be humane masters, as there certainly are inhuman ones - there may be slaves well-clothed, well-fed, and happy, as there surely are those half-clad, half-starved and miserable; nevertheless, the institution that tolerates such wrong and inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one. Men may write fictions portraying lowly life as it is, or as it is not - may expatiate with owlish gravity upon the bliss of ignorance - discourse flippantly from arm chairs of the pleasures of slave life; but let them toil with him in the field - sleep with him in the cabin - feed with him on husks; let them behold him scourged, hunted, trampled on, and they will come back with another story in their mouths. Let them know the heart of the poor slave - learn his secret thoughts - thoughts he dare not utter in the hearing of the white man; let them sit by him in the silent watches of the night - converse with him in trustful confidence,

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