English 202 A
The Book vs. The Movie
I believe that the book, Twelve Years a Slave is much better than the film; which was released in 2013. The reason behind this is because the depiction of the historical era, Soloman and his plight, and the depiction of individuals important in Soloman’s life are shown correctly and with realism in the book unlike the movie, where everything is pretty much exaggerated and false.
Twelve years a slave the book, is based on a true story. The history behind African slaves like Soloman Northup is portrayed correctly in the book because it shows how much pain they went through because of the color of their skin. The movie on the other hand doesn’t show the true story behind Soloman Northup’s history. Most of historical era in the movie is made up or exaggerated. As an audience, the movie kept you on your toes but it didn’t deliver the true meaning behind what the slaves really went through or show their achievements. For example, in the book, Soloman described a number of incidents that occurred when he was being transported to the Southern U.S., like how he and his fellow prisoners planned an Amistad style revolt, before one of them fell ill and died from smallpox, or how Soloman encountered a sailer who helped him and wrote a letter to Soloman’s friends in the North. However, although you might think the sailor would treat this as his moral responsibility, the way Soloman described it, the sailor regarded what he did for Soloman as a simple favor. By comparison, in the film see the slaves being harassed, raped, and murdered, as one of Soloman’s peers advises him to keep his head down. So from this you can see that from the movie you only get to see the black and white, you don’t get to see the other colors; meaning the positives, or achievements, it’s all covered with just blood, fights, and murder. The story of how Henry had to deal with so much red tape and other government roadblocks in order to address the crime committed against Solomon is a highly insightful look at our history from the past, but clearly isn’t been shown in the movie. The same goes for information and aspects of Soloman’s memoir that are not explore in the movie, but would’ve helped drive home just how real the people and events represented they are. I feel that the movie version doesn’t hold up as the “statement” about slavery that many people argued it is. Instead, it’s technically about a man’s quest to survive which tends to over indulge in showing the ugliness of slavery.
The movie skips out or changes many important parts of twelve years of slave, which is another reason why the book is better. For example, a very intriguing chapter that was skipped is when Soloman recounts how Henry B. Northup; a lawyer and the relative of the family was the one contacted by the Canadian Bass and ended up being responsible for Soloman’s rescue. Other changes from the movie is that the slave trader Goodin is eliminated from the film, along with Northup’s experience in his possession. The slaves Arthur and Clemens Ray are combined into one character, with the latter being rescued in New Orleans instead of the former. The role of John M. Tibeats is shown as a crazy more than the bitter, angry man of Northup’s narrative. Only one of Tibeats murder attempts is shown, and that is only shown for dramatic effect. The movie lays the blame for Northup’s sale to Epps directly on William ford, when in fact it was Tibeats who sold Platt to the “nigger breaker.” Northup and Platt’s eight-year role as the slave-whipping driver on Epp’s farm is completely omitted which leaves out another