Analysis Of A Slave: Twelve Years A Slave

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Solomon Northup was a free African American man who, after being forced into slavery for twelve years, regained his freedom, and wrote a memoir of his years as a slave: Twelve Years a Slave, which is an autobiographical story also called a slave narrative. After being published by Derby & Miller in 1853, this memoir fell into public obscurity for nearly 100 years, until it was rediscovered by two Louisiana historians, Sue Eakin and Jospeh Logsdon. Twelve Years a Slave also gave factual support to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This essay will discuss how the extract “Eliza loses her children” makes the readers -black and white- reflect on the theme of slavery seen through the eyes of a former Black slave who was once free; and how the techniques of Realism…show more content…
To be more precise, during the scene at the slave market (part 3), slaves could almost be described as mechanized; in other words, they are completely dehumanized. The first seen describes Freeman exhibiting his slaves for buyers as if they were simple objects in an antique shop. He does not respect them as human beings: “Freeman damned her, calling her a blubbering, bawling wench, and ordered her to get to her place, and behave herself.” This quote is one of the many examples throughout the whole book of how slave are treated and beaten up of they do not “behave.” Violence is a repeated theme used to describe the different personalities of the traders. Traders use severe violence, both verbally and physically, to make the slaves “obey” (like animals): “He caught her by the arm and pulled her rudely” or “then, with a volley of great oaths, he struck a heartless blow, that she staggered backward, and was like to fall.” Slaves are treated as poorly as animals, sometimes worse so that traders would obtain higher prices on their ‘prizes’: “The little fellow was made to jump, and run across the floor, and perform many other feats, exhibiting his activity and condition.” That is the reason why Freeman would not sell Emily because he will be able to sell her at a higher price when she becomes of age to be sold as a prostitute: “There were heaps and…show more content…
Through Eliza’s life story, this extract shows another aspect of slavery that is unfamiliar to the reader; a lot of families were split due to slavery and never saw each other, because slaves were sold to owners in different states. The techniques and goals of Realism in this extract are to emphasize the Black narrator’s position within the story, the slaves’ freedom being dependent on the ‘White’s’ freedoms, and the boundaries being pushed too far. These aspects make the reader face the facts narrated by a former free black man sold back into slavery. The uniqueness of this book is that it gives the readers a new perspective on the history facts of that time that even a White historian probably could not have giving them. Moreover, the emotions Solomon Northup pours into his text has a bigger impact on the reader because it is hard for the generations after the 19th-20th centuries to imagine the slightest thing about slavery for they have not experienced
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