12 Years a Slave Themes

1497 WordsFeb 2, 20146 Pages
12 Years a Slave Assignment The pain and abuse experienced by Solomon Northrup in his 12 years of slavery, like the millions of other slaves who were kidnapped in Africa and sold across the U.S., is a tragic example of the pain one society can inflict upon another group of people. The movie 12 Years A Slave graphically portrays the horrors of slavery in America, and demonstrates the shame of the system, using the incredible irony in the story of Solomon Northrup. Since he had a dpcument that said he was a free black man, he was treated by others as a fellow man, but after he was kidnapped he was considered property, like an animal. There was no change in Solomon himself as a person; only a corrupt system declared that he could now be…show more content…
Also, after noticing another female slave crying endlessly, he told her that “You let yourself be overcome by sorrow, you will drown in it”. Clearly Northrup tried his best to maintain his dignity, but prior to the exciting conclusion of his story, there is a very telling scene. Solomon was playing violin at a dance for his master and their friends. The violin represented for him a human experience, as he was able to accomplish more than just picking cotton, and the sound of an instrument is one of the most powerful human experiences. Although, at this ball, as he plays, the sorrowful background music of the movie plays over his song, and clouds out the sound of his violin. After the ball Solomon smashed his violin into thousands of pieces. He recognized that even in a very human activity, he was still serving his master, and the music he played and everything he felt as a result of the music, all belonged to his owner. Despite the dramatization, it still vividly shows the despicable dehumanization suffered by slaves, and even those who tried to maintain their human dignity, eventually had everything stripped away. The slaves who had their humanity taken away were abused so greatly by their masters that for a viewer, it was hard to imagine these masters as human, just as they thought of their slaves. Especially further down the Mississippi, like at Northrup’s plantation in Louisiana, the masters treated their slaves so
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