Twelve Years A Slave

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Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave is a book about his experience as a slave during the 19th century, set firstly in Saratoga, New York, then in Washington and lastly in New Orleans, Louisiana. The main character is Solomon himself, who tells his story as a free black man, son of an emancipated slave, who was kidnapped by two men, and sold into slavery. He lives in Saratoga with his wife and children, working as a labourer and violinist, when two men in 1841 offered him a work in Washington for a significant amount of money, which he accepted. He was drugged and kidnapped by these two men, selling him as a slave into Louisiana. He lived as a slave for twelve years, changing of masters and plantations several times, until 1853, when he was…show more content…
One of the most important terms in the book, is the dehumanization of black people, who are treated not as humans, but as animals. Solomon is taken away his freedom, kidnapped, sold into slavery and beaten, putting him, as other slaves, into inhumane labours, emotional and physical abuses, and violence. An example of dehumanization starts after their arrival to Louisiana, when they were put into a slave pen, being in charge of Theophilus Freeman, a slave trader, who changed Solomon’s name to “Platt”: “Your name is Platt – you answer my description. Why don’t you come forward?” (Northup, 1853). This change of name was very usual in slavery, used to erase a slave’s past and identity, generally when slaves were free in the past and kidnapped to be slaves afterwards (Fitzpatrick, 2012), as it is the case of Solomon, deleting any connection with his previous life as a free black man, and dehumanizing him in every way. Besides, at the purchase of slaves by traders, the black people are even more treated as…show more content…
On the other hand, the whip was the symbol of the oppression of slavery, that made slaves believe that there was not a way out of slavery. All in all, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup is a great account of slavery in the nineteenth century, as it explains every minute part of his time as a slave in Louisiana, that serves us to verify our thoughts of how bondage was, and what kind of cruelties black people experienced. Other authors state that Northup’s book was never believed to be false, it is so detailed that it was never put in doubt (Mitchell, 2014). Besides, historians discovered that the book was not fiction, but a real experience by exploring every detail of the novel (Churchwell, 2014). Taking into account all of the key terms that Northup uses and the verified story, this book is one of the best autobiographies written by a slave about his own experience, with its hard details to raise awareness to people about the harsh moments that black people had to leave for no reason, only because of racism, led mainly by white
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