Analysis Of The Book ' 12 Years A Slave ' By Solomon Northup

1354 Words Apr 19th, 2016 6 Pages
Slavery has been utilized in the United States since 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. On the day that the 13th Amendment was ratified, slavery ended. But what happened in these two hundred years is a story of mistreatment and horror for the slaves in America. Solomon Northup, the main character and writer of the memoir “12 Years a Slave” was born a free man in the northern and free state of New York. He recalls the horrors of being kidnapped and sold into slavery in his narrative. Violence plays a large role in not only his capture and enslavement, but the capture and enslavement of millions of Africans as well. However, this violent theme did not just affect the slaves. Master on slave violence was highly common, but so was slave on slave violence as well as master on master violence. Violence reinforced white superiority and ensured black subordination by instilling a fear into the hearts of the slaves from the beginning of enslavement. It made slavery possible by not allowing the slaves to even consider their escape to freedom because the fear in their hearts of capture and punishment was greater than their will to escape. Masters of slaves inflicted both physical and emotional pain on their slaves. There are many ways that this could be done. An act of direct violence could be used to encourage black subordination. Such as when Northup is first captured and beaten until he learns he should not say he is a…
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