It’s been a little while now! I’ve finished a new book and I’m excited to tell you about it.
Solomon Northup is a free man. He was born free and his father was a free man. Growing up he had a talent for playing the violin and this would be one of the greater pleasures throughout his life. Married and living a happy and prosperous life Solomon one day enter into the employment of two gentlemen who say they belong to a circus. They will pay Solomon handsomely if he comes with them and plays on different occasions. Their destination is Washington in the District of Columbia. The difference between the state of New York where Solomon is born and raised and Washington is that black men can be enslaved in Washington. Solomon follows the two gentlemen believing that they have good intentions, but it soon becomes clear to him that they do not.
This is a true story from the time of slavery in the United States. I’m doing an essay on this for school which is why I have chosen to read this book. It was on my reading list before I started on my class, but I’ve just never come around to read it. I liked this story very much and I struggle with truly understanding how slavery could be a part of human history. When Solomon, or Platt which is his given slave name, relates to the countless times he is whipped by his owner I have a hard time relating it to anything I know. So many times it seems like the cruelty expressed by slave owners and slave traders were just for the mere fun and Solomon even describes one of his owners as such a man. How can someone do something so terrible to another human being is beyond me. I will never understand slavery no matter how many books I read about the topic. It is certainly something I’m not fond of! In this case, it actually of help to watch the movie. The movie visualizes what is hard to understand and relate to from the book. Especially awful is the scene where Patsy is being severely punished and Master Epps makes Solomon do it. I had to look away, I could not bear to watch it. There is something from the book that is missing in the movie, but isn’t that always the case? I still think it is a very good adaption and I know the movie won 3 Oscars and was nominated for many other prices the year it came out. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the actor who plays Solomon and I think he portrays the character in a great way. There is a certain way he uses his face to portray feelings that I find very entrancing if one could use such a word. I think that is why Ejiofor fits so well for his role as Solomon. There is a great deal of emotional agony in this movie and therefore being able to portray these feelings is so important for the whole feeling of the movie. This is one of the few times where my imagination has not portrayed a very specific picture of the main character while reading the book, hence Ejiofor made perfect sense when I watched the movie. That made me very pleased.
The language in the book is somewhat unfamiliar to me, but that is simply because the English in the 1840’s and 50’s were very different from the English that I know and speak today. I struggled a few times to understand what was being said, but it didn’t offer me too much trouble. I think it’s great that they’ve kept the language the tale was written in. If it was modernized then I think it would destroy a big part of the experience of reading the book.
I would definitely recommend this book for most people and especially if you are interested in the American slavery history. I think the book gives a pretty good view of the times back then, although they were not happy times.
12 years a Slave: 12 years a Slave – Trailer
Genre: Historical biography
Theme: Slavery, America
– The Book Reader