The Film 12 Years A Slave Essay

The Film 12 Years A Slave Essay

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The film 12 Years a Slave takes us into a twelve-year window of Solomon Northup’s life. Its origin comes from Solomon Northup’s book, with the same title, that recounts one fragment of America’s most embarrassing exploits. The film was directed by Steve McQueen and was released in the year 2013. The director chose 12 Years a Slave to work with after much searching for non-fictional story that featured a man who was ripped from his family and forced into slavery. Solomon’s story was just that. Many critics have been praised the film and particularly single out Chiwetel Ekiofor’s performance as the best acting of the year (Solomon Northup).
At the start of the film we see Solomon already working in the sugarcane fields as a slave. As he reminisces about his previous life we encounter a flashback to when he was a freeman. Solomon Northup was born a freeman and lived in the north along with his wife and two children. Various important skills of his were writing, literacy, and music. His high intelligence is also of note. He made money as a musician and it would be through his music that he would be thrust into slavery. While in a park a man introduced him to two other men who claimed to be looking for a violinist to play in a circus. They promised to cover the travel expenses and were to pay him a generous amount of money per day. They took him out to dinner in Washington D.C. to celebrate his addition where they let him feast and drink himself into a stupor. He awoke the next day in chains and without his documentation. From this point he would be transported, sold, and resold numerous times throughout his life as a slave. Solomon would continue to struggle to maintain hope and retain his identity throughout the physical and mental...


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.... She stayed with Epps because she had nowhere else to go. Then there is Patsey. She is the object of Epp’s desires. In all of these cases, men justified these acts because they lacked the concept of gender equality. They saw women as objects or trophies to be taken advantage of or played with. This gender inequality is a horrible truth about how society viewed women in America for a very long time.
Upon the closing of 12 Years a Slave, I was left mildly disturbed. Not even the cathartic relief of Solomon finding his family could mask the discomfort left by the violent episodes of flogging. While this may succeed in providing an accurate depiction of American history, I couldn’t without any good reason watch this film again. When it is all said and done, I’m glad I watched it and I would recommend it to others but this is the type of film you only need to see once.

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