Compare And Contrast The Transatlantic Slave Trade

1193 Words5 Pages
Catrina Marr
Engl. 650 - Spring 2018
Midterm Exam
1. Compare and contrast the transatlantic slave trade and the United States domestic slave trade

When African slave trade began in 1540 approximately ten thousand individuals were captured per year. European traders then modeled a system of slavery based off African culture (described in early chapters of Equiano's narrative) and African slave trade soon gave way to an international, transatlantic slave trade; by 1750 - nearly two hundred years later - this figure increased 10-fold. The century between 1725 to 1825 yielded the highest rates of transatlantic slave trade recorded. The U.S took a step in the right direction in 1808 by outlawing the participation of slave holders in international
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He includes scenes which inspire discussion by exposing the true inhumane practices of the institution. The film version of 12 Years a Slave showcases the sounds and sights of American slavery: the grief faced with the loss of freedom and identity, comradery in singing, labor intensive cotton picking, and the shudder-inducing sound of a whip along slaves' backs. McQueen accurately represents the ideology behind slavery which was reinforced by slave-owners' skewed interpretations of Christianity; the bible 'sanctioned' slavery, and it was a slave-owner's 'Christian duty' to preach the scriptures to the less fortunate - a precursor to Rudyard Kipling's idea of the 'White Man's Burden'. Although McQueen's cinematic replication of Northup's narrative 12 Years a Slave depicts the harshness of slavery, it forgets to include the gratitude which Northup expresses throughout his narrative. It also shies away from important plot points which emphasize the struggle and paranoia Northup dealt with as his life passed him by and freedom seemed to slip from his…show more content…
When Northup arrives at onetime master William Ford's plantation, he notes that "There never was a more kind, noble, candid, Christian man than William Ford," adding that Ford's circumstances "blinded [Ford] to the inherent wrong at the bottom of the system of Slavery". McQueen's cinematic recreation of Northup's interactions with Ford leads viewers to believe that Northup frequently undermines Ford and expresses little to no gratitude towards him. In a similar fashion, Mistress Epps was described as being "not naturally such an evil woman", Northup goes on to note that "She was possessed of the devil, jealousy... but aside from that, there was much in her character to admire". In the film she was shown to have only bad qualities; she was mean, nasty, and uncultured. The movie also omitted the scene nearing the end of the novel where mistress epps expresses her heartfelt appreciation for all Northup had done, Mistress Epps goes as far as to say she would miss him. These are both scenes in the novel that counteract the notion that slavery is a cruel and heartless institution; they reinforce Northup's gratitude towards his keepers, and their gratitude towards him. These conflicting messages cloud the strength of McQueen's argument and main point but are authentic to Northup's
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