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12 Years a Slave (Presentation Version)
Transcript of 12 Years a Slave (Presentation Version)
Vandita Gaur | ENG 3U | Pannunzio
12 Years a Slave is an award winning film directed by Steve McQueen. It is a true story based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and held captive as a slave for over a decade.
Solomon is born free. He is a well respected man whom resides with his family in New York, while working as a farmer and a violinist. While traveling South to Washington on a business trip, Solomon is kidnapped, forced to inhabit a new identity, and sold to slavery, where he spends the next twelve, inauspicious years of his life.
- Protagonist, aka "Platt"
- Slave Owner, Antagonist, aka "Master"
- Slave, Female
- Slave, Caucasian, Helps Free Solomon
"12 Years a Slave" is a real book written by Solomon himself about his life.
The date and circumstances of Solomons death are unknown.
He was a slave from 1841 - 1852
Solomon was drugged and abducted.
Slavery was deemed illegal in New York in 1827, but unfortunately Solomon was kidnapped and taken south to Louisiana
The Marxist Theory
Marxist Criticism is a political and economic philosophy that focuses on the flaws in the capital economic system.
It focuses on the poverty within the working class (slaves) and the power the bourgeoisie/business men (slave owners) hold.
Fear of Change
Loss of Innocence
Abuse and Mistreatment
Illusion vs. Reality
Fate vs. Freewill
Symbol : Whips and Chains
Superiority vs Inferiority
Lighting (Light vs. Dark)
Good vs. Evil
Solomon's love for his family is what resulted in his abduction. He was the breadwinner of his family and wanted to make more money for them. Little did he know his journey in hope for more money would lead to twelve years of separation from his loved ones.
Solomon was a talented, educated, free man before he was sold into slavery. His life before slavery is what gave him hope that one day he would regain his freedom as a liberated individual.
Solomon's fear of change was his hamartia. He refused to let go of his past life and identity and this often resulted in him being beaten or whipped by the slave owners.
Solomon was a very fortunate man as he was born a liberated individual despite his skin color. He did not know a life that was any different from a free one, and this led to his fear as he refused to acknowledge a life that was not a free one.
Patsey is a dynamic character who changes as a result of the situations she encounters on her journey as a slave. She is a young female who is forced to do many things against her will.
Patsey is raped and sexually harassed by her master. She feels worthless, and even offers Solomon money to kill her so she no longer has to suffer.
During the time period, slaves including Solomon and Patsey were brutally beaten for not doing as they were told. This left them not only physically scarred, but emotionally as well.
The recurring use of whips and chains symbolized the pain and suffering Patsey and Solomon constantly faced. It showed the hardships and cruelty they suffered through because of their skin color.
In the Slavery time period, the masters were Caucasian and held power over the slaves. There were rarely any Caucasian slaves and rarely any colored skin masters.
The master had the benefit of wealth and was able to purchase slaves and force them to work for him. Wealth also gave him authority and allowed him to do things without facing consequences.
During the 1800s wealth was closely affiliated with power. Those who had money automatically had more power over those who did not.
The Marxist theory focuses on the corruption of the working class. The slave owners held all the power and got credit/profit for all the work completed by the slaves.
Critical Thinking Questions to Consider:
What is the significance of the whip? What does it represent.
In which ways does Solomon denying the fact that he is a slave foreshadow what he encounters on his journey as a slave?
The whips and chains represent power.
Solomon being beat represents the stripping of his past life.
They represent a era of cruelty and hardship
It foreshadows the difficult times that are to come.
Shows his strength and courage to speak the truth no matter what circumstances he is faced with.
It foreshadows him fighting for freedom and liberty for the next 12 years.
Shows strength despite the torture.
Elements of Film
Elements of Literature