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12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

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Gabriel Martin

on 20 April 2015

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Transcript of 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Author's Purpose
Thesis/Main Idea
Period 2
Gabriel Martin, Gabby Ruezga, Jorge Diaz
Surveying the Text
I saw and enjoyed the movie based off of the text which made me want to read the book.
I can infer the subject of freedom by looking at the chains on the cover
The book is divided into a timeline, introduction, 22 chapters, and end notes. (245 pages)
By reading the first few paragraphs, I noticed how descriptive they were. For an author of a slave narrative to be this skilled through writing was extremely rare.
12 Years a Slave
by: Solomon Northup

The author's purpose is to show the reality of slavery through describing his 12 year experience of being a slave.
Quote: "My object is, to give a candid and truthful statement of facts: to repeat the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving it for others to determine, whether even the pages of fiction present a picture of more cruel wrong or severer bondage."
The intended audience are Northerners at the time, slaves, and the general public.
Quote: "Since my return to liberty, I have not failed to perceive the increasing interest throughout to Northern States, in regard to the subject of Slavery...as I understand, have created a fruitful topic of comment and discussion."
His purpose should be received as a wake up call to support abolitionists against slavery in southern states. Also, his escape to freedom should also be taken as a beam of hope for other slaves.
Rhetorical Analysis
"The bargain was agreed upon, and Randall must go alone. Then Eliza ran to him; embraced him passionately; kissed him again and again; told him to remember her-all the while her tears falling in the boy's face like rain."
The author creates a strong emotional appeal in the novel such as his use of the child getting separated from her mother at the time of being sold, depicts an emotional appeal. In which the author has created sympathy in the reader.
Is the author credible?
The author establishes credibility through his historical experience as a slave for 12 years.
Credibility is also established through his close attention to detail throughout the narrative.

In my opinion, 12 Years a Slave, is a great book that gave me an extremely detailed insight to how African Americans were treated as slaves.
His extremely detailed descriptions of the setting and characters lets me picture the novel very easily.
I heavily admire his perseverance in the fact that despite the suffering he experienced through his 12 years as a slave, he still hoped and fought for freedom.
12 Years a Slave has reminded me how valuable freedom is and how easily it can be taken away.
The main idea of 12 years a slave is that slavery is unjust.
Reason #1
Northup repeatedly describes the physical pain he and other slaves suffered.
Reason #2
The author also describes the mental suffering that he experienced as a slave.
The author gives logical appeal throughout the novel by giving very detailed and accurate descriptions.
The author gives strong ethical appeals by questioning what is right or wrong.
"Is everything right because the law allows it?"
"In the sight of God, what is the difference between a white man and a black one?"
"Are all men created free and equal as the Declaration of Independence says they are?"
"What difference is there in the color of the soul?"

Quote: "She was terribly lacerated- I may say without exaggeration, literally flayed.The lash was wet with blood which flowed down her sidesand dropped upon the ground."
Quote: "Why had I not died in my young years before God had given me children to love and live for?"
Full transcript