Inhumane Life In Solomon Northup's Twelve Years Of Slave

1097 Words5 Pages
Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years of Slave,” is one of the most known slave narratives published before the Civil War. Born as a freeman in New York, he experienced the life of a slave when two whites, Merill Brown and Abram Hamilton, that deceived him captured him While his status as a freeman is threatened by his captors with the promise of more brutal beating, he has to answer if he, himself, is a slave. Throughout the twelve years, he is being sold to different masters ranging from kind to inhumane. Northup is kidnapped around age thirty and is saved after twelve years of his captivity by the help of Henry B. Northup, a white lawyer related to the family that owned Northup’s father as a slave and which he also took his last name. Solomon uses descriptions of plantation work, desecration of family, and violence to convey the inhumane life of an African American slave. To begin with, there is a system in doing plantation work as a slave. “When a new hand…sent for the first time into the field, he is whipped up smartly, and made for that say to pick up as fast as he can possibly…”(72) Meaning, once they start working on the field, they are required to learn to be efficient, or they will receive a punishment, most likely whipping. A slave has to bring the same weight of their cotton, no more no less, or they will receive a penalty. This rule leaves dread inside each slave…show more content…
Because of this, some families had to be separated since a slave was a lot of money and worse off, if they had children. Children counted as an extra slave. Another example of desecration of family is Eliza Berry with her two children, Emily Berry and Randall Berry. Emily Berry was about seven or eight years old and was a biracial, meaning, her mother slept with a white male. Slaves were also chosen simply by their mixed racial status, such an example is Eliza Berry’s
Open Document