Essay Prompts For Twelve Years A Slave


12 Years a Slave

SUBJECTS —U.S./1812 - 1865; Literature/U.S. (Slave Narrative);
Age: 15+; MPAA Rating -- R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality; Drama; 2013, 2 hrs. 14 minutes; Color. Available from
Note to Teachers: While TWM has created a useful Learning Guide for this film, it is very long for classroom use. As an alternative, teachers can assign the film for viewing at home and require students to fill out TWM's Movie Worksheet for 12 Years a Slave. Reviewing responses to the worksheet can be a classroom activity. Watching the film at home can be supplemented with a shorter documentary, Unchained Memories (one hour, 15 minutes) in which actors read from interviews with the last generation of former slaves.

Description: This movie is a cinematic representation of the best selling slave narrative of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate New York who was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery. The film shows the life of a slave in the American South primarily on two plantations: one governed by a relatively benevolent master and the other subject to a brutal tyrant. They also expose the particularly hard lot of slave women and the operation of the slave trade. The movie is an excellent resource for 12th grade and college classes in U.S. History and for ELA units on the slave narrative genre.

Rationale: It is important for students to understand the brutality and thoroughness of slavery as practiced in the American South and which was eradicated only a brutal and bloody civil war. It is also helpful for students to understand the world-wide dimensions of slavery, the current status of slavery, and to read at least parts of a slave narrative, the first genre of African-American literature.

Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: Students will have a vivid understanding of the lives endured by slaves in the American South. Students will be introduced to slavery as a world-wide phenomenon that has existed for millennia and which continues to exist. Students will be introduced to the slave narrative, the first genre of African-American literature.

Solomon Northup's Twelve Years A Slave Essay

2715 Words11 Pages

After reading Solomon Northup's Twelve Years A Slave, I was overwhelmed with his experience. He was born a free man in New York in 1808. In 1841 he was tricked, captured, and sold into slavery in Washington, D.C. Throughout his book, Solomon goes into details describing his life as a slave, which validates our critique of slavery. As abolitionists, it is our duty to do something about slavery. Although, as abolitionists, we have a history of disagreements among us, it time to put a stop to our arguments and start fighting for something we all believe in - to abolish slavery. While the growing cotton economy has made slavery more attractive than ever before to most southern people, slavery has to be abolished based on these reasons:…show more content…

In fact, female slaves were often raped by their masters, which explains growing population of mulatto's .

Making it impossible for slaves to for a family, is not the only way that masters mistreated their slaves. Slaves were treated as animals or a piece of property. Epps looked at all colored man, "not at human being, but as a chatter personal, as mere live property, no better, except in value, than his mule or dot" . Angelina Grimke talks about daily abuse that slaves had to face. They were called names such as, fools, liars, sluts, husseys, good-for-nothing creatures and many more. She adds that "every natural and social feeling and affection are violated with indifference [by masters]; slaves are treated as through they did not possess them" .

Garrison, who is one of the nation's most famous abolitionists, also feels that slaves are treated inhumanly and he contrasts his situation in jail to the situation of the slaves. He feels that the only similarity among slaves and prisoners is that they are "confined to the narrow limits" of property, slaves to plantation and him to a prison-yard. In regards to everything else, he argues that t a life of a prisoner is much better than of a slave. He said that his food is better "I get a pound of bread and a pound of mean with supply of pure water", he can lie down, walk, sit as he pleases, he can talk to his friends, if it were to rain he has

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