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Twelve Years A Slave

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Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years A Slave. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc, 2007.

Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave is a self-written narrative on the difficult and grueling life that he encountered. This story talks about his life from birth, being born a free man, all the way through his years of slavery and then once again being freed. Solomon Northup in no way tries to make one feel a certain way on the subject of his slavery. He only tries to give an exact representation of what he endured along with what and whom he encountered along the way. By doing so he provided readers with an option to decide for themselves the way that they feel on the subject of his life and also slavery in general. He seems to be a very well educated man and also extremely qualified to write a book of this magnitude.

Northup’s depiction of his life is hard to fathom since he once was living the life that he dreamed of then it was all taken away from him in an instant because he wanted to be successful for his family. The story begins with Solomon, a New Yorker, being a free man because of the fact that the patriarch of the Northup family had died which then in part made his father, Mistus, a free man. Solomon grew up doing farm work, but also educated himself by reading in his spare time as well as playing his violin, which he loved so dearly. He later married his wife, Anne Hampton, and they had three children. Solomon did many things to supply for his family, but by the time of his kidnapping he was working in a sawmill in Saratoga Springs while also playing his violin on occasion. He was offered what he saw to be a great and financially prosperous deal that consisted of playing for a traveling circus, he decided to agree to the deal to help provide for his

family. During the visit to Washington, Solomon had several drinks and became sick later suffering from an intense headache. Was he poisoned by the circus people at the saloon where they drank? This is a question that still seems to be unanswered, but he awoke chained and shackled in a dark stone-walled room. This room was bricked up on the outside that �the outside world could never see the human cattle that were herded there.’ (Northup p.19)Everything he had on him had been taken from him including the papers that stated his status as a free man not to mention his pride and name. He soon became to understand that he was in a slave holding pen owned by a man named James Burch. Burch used several brain-washing techniques to keep him from saying that he was a free man. Burch told him that he was a runaway slave from Georgia and that was he was to tell others and he would beat him severely again and again if he were to ever point out his true status as a free Negro.

He was later sold to a Mr. Ford at an auction in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ford was a very genuine Baptist man whom Solomon worked very hard for, mostly in the carpentry trade. Although Solomon respected Ford a very large amount, he was never able to put Burch’s beatings behind him and tell Ford his true identity. Later Solomon was sold to another man by the name of Tibeats who was no

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