Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

1673 Words7 Pages
The topic of slavery in the United States has always been controversial, as many people living in the South were supportive of it and many people living in the North were against it. Even though it was abolished by the Civil War before the start of the 20th century, there are still different views on the subject today. Written in 1853, the book Twelve Years a Slave is a first person account of what it was like for Solomon Northup to be taken captive from his free life in the North and sold to a plantation as a slave in the South, and his struggle to regain his freedom. Through writing about themes of namelessness, inhumanity, suffering, distrust, defiance, and the desire for freedom, Northup was able to expose the experiences and realities of slavery.
Since Northup wrote this book himself, it was able to provide readers with the truth and the experiences of living as a slave in the South. The good experiences written about by Northup seemed to be few and far between in the story, but the moments were big. In the beginning of the story, he talked about being with his family and the experience of being a free black man in the North. Once his freedom and family were taken from him, the next good experience he spoke of was when he met friends, either on the boat rides or on the plantations. These friends, although he was once free and most of them were not, had many things in common with Northup, and they all had similar views on slavery. A third positive experience that Solomon wrote about was when the officials came to Ebbs’ plantation to take him back North to freedom, which Ebbs could not believe. Although Ebbs wasn’t happy about it, Solomon was excited to go back to the North and his family. Being reunited with his family after ...

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...gainst it.
Obviously during the time period when slavery occurred, there were opposing opinions about the topic: majority of the South was proslavery and majority of the North was antislavery. Solomon Northup’s first person account provided insight into what truly happened in slavery and was able to uncover a piece of the larger story of America. Along with being personal, his story was also unique, as he was able to tell his story from both the perspective of a free man and of a slave. He was able to expose the true aspects of slavery through his themes of namelessness, inhumanity, struggle, distrust, defiance, and the desire for freedom. Northup also told the reader of his good and bad experiences throughout this time, so he or she really got a decent effect of what he went through. This book seemed to open the eyes of society on such a sad, controversial topic.
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