12 Year a Slave Essay

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Twelve Years A Slave Essay
During a time of cruel punishment and harsh conditions of life as a slave in the 19th century South, there was a book that shed a light on the life of a slave unparalleled in past as well as in modern literature. That book was entitled Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. Northup was born a freeman that was obtained from his father after being freed by the Northup family due to loyal service. Growing up in the free state of New York, Solomon was allowed an education that was rare because of the sad disposition of the majority of his race. Solomon gained much knowledge of industry and hard work from his father. As a free man of color, he enjoyed various jobs and hobbies from timber raft building to playing
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When traveling long distances in the extreme heat, Ford would often let them rest for however long they wanted to, an aspect that some slave owners would not allow. Arriving on Ford’s residence, Northup was treated in an approachable manner a slave would describe as “pleasant”. Slaves owned by Ford would often talk about how they were treated well and Ford was looked upon as a father for all that lived there. Northup’s specific skill set put him in the favor of Ford. He would recommend Northup to all of his contractors. In the narrative, Northup describes his opinion of Ford stating, “ I think of him with affection, and had my family been with me, could have borne his gentle servitude, without murmuring all my days,” (Northup, 74).
Northup for a short period of time had the ease of William Ford as his master, but for ten years he was to be held in cruel bondage by a man named Edwin Epps. Epps was the owner of a cotton plantation on Bayou Boeuf and looked upon slaves as animals. During times of drunkenness he would substitute punishment with sport and precede in whipping them, saying demeaning statements, and making them dance. Northup gives a description of who Edwin Epps really was, “He is known as a “nigger breaker”, distinguished for his faculty subduing the spirit of the slave, and priding himself upon his reputation in this respect, as a jockey boast of his skill in managing a factory horse,” (Northup, 138). He used the whip as