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12 Years A Slave Essay

784 words - 3 pages

Slavery takes its part in history by containing the darkest, most cruel centuries of our nation. Often times, people are exposed to simply the surface of a very complex time period. Slavery in the United States had very intricate facets to it. In the outstanding film 12 Years a Slave, the life of a slave captured through Solomon Northup's eyes. Although he was a free man, Northup was kidnapped and wrongly sold into slavery. Through his journey, I was able to identify different pieces of slavery such as the physical brutality/sexual harassment, the slave and master relationship, and slave rebellion.
I cannot begin to imagine the inhumane treatment slaves endured from their masters day in and day out. As Solomon (or his slave name, Platt) and other slaves conduct their tasks, they are constantly being challenged by their master. Whether they perform the job correctly or not, it becomes evident that some slave owners simply enjoy the feeling of power they gain when they are bellowing commands at dozens of people. What drove some of the white men was the power of violence. Numerous times throughout the film, Solomon along with other slaves were beat for senseless reasons. Even if a slave was completely in line with a slave owners demand, there was no guarantee whatsoever that they would not get beat. Alongside physical brutality, the case of sexual harassment was also presented. Solomon's slave master had complete control over his slaves, and many of them came to terms that subjectivity was their only way of surviving. There was a scene where the master was raping a slave named Patsy, and all she could do was lay there, lifeless. Often times, what sprouted from slave-master relationships such as this one, were animosity from the spouse. In the case of 12 Years a Slave, the wife of the slave owner came to despise her husband, and even more so the slave he was sleeping with.
The relationships formed between the slave and the master generally follow a black and white framework; the slave is completely subjective to the master, and the master holds all power, with a cruel fist fast to swing at any given moment. In some cases, slaves were lucky and were placed in a household where the family was genuinely kind to their slaves....

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