Slavery In 12 Years A Slave By Solomon Northup

782 Words4 Pages
Whether or not a slave narrative is able to persuade its readers of the inhumanities of slavery, the complexities within slave narratives and the discussions they create should not be overlooked. There is power within the act of writing one’s personal journeys and hardships throughout life, and that power gives former enslaved people the opportunity to express their own thoughts while making changes for future generations. Solomon Northup’s 12 Years A Slave gives a heart-wrenching depiction of what slavery was like in America. If the cruel images of the realities of slavery do not affect readers emotionally, then there is at least hope that the logical arguments raised throughout the novel can persuade those who are unwilling to see slavery…show more content…
Northup goes into great depth when explaining the daily tasks of enslaved people, which slows down the narrative and forces audiences to give their attention to this section of the novel. “The fears and labors of another day begin; and until its close there is no such thing as rest,” Northup explains to the audience, using a cyclical pattern while describing the constant fears. The sentences in this section flow into each other creating a sense of repetition and endlessness, which reflects the constant pain and fear running in the veins of enslaved people. Northup includes this image and description of the daily lives of enslaved people in juxtaposition to Ford’s direction of treating enslaved people kindly in order to get the most profit and labor out of them. On the one hand, Northup focuses on Ford’s kind treatment towards his slaves and Ford’s nonviolent beliefs regarding the institution of slavery, which makes a respectable argument for slave owners to treat their slaves better. On the other hand, Northup goes into depth about the constant pain that slaves must endure. Both of these strategies sustain the logical argument of treating slaves better. Whether a slave owner recognizes the possible benefits of treating slaves better, or recognizes the sheer inhumanity and emotional and physical abuse that slaves experience, Northup’s narrative advocates better treatment of slaves and gives multiple examples of why slave owners should treat slaves better. Can slave narratives change everyone’s perspective on slavery? Of course not. Are either of these arguments that Northup provides going to change everyone’s mind? Probably not. If slave narratives can’t convince racist people and slave owners that what they’re doing is wrong, then is there validity in writing slave narratives? Why do people want to
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