12 Years a Slave' Reaction Essay

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Solomon Northup’s book “Twelve Years a Slave” is a Narrative directly from the person himself, Solomon Northup who experienced a personal journey of slavery directly through the experience of kidnapping and being sold as a slave in slave markets. Solomon Northup’s experience dates back to the mid-1800s and it is fair to say that Solomon’s book is one of the oldest books that have a narrative that is direct from the source and is told and described from a first-hand experience and not a secondary source. Northup’s evidence of his experience of slavery is purely from his memory, and the experiences that he endured. We can say that Northup’s evidence of slavery (during the period in which he grew up and was captured) lines up with the recorded history of slavery that many African Americans experienced during the 1800s.

Saidiya Hartman’s books on slavery are written a century apart. Hartman uses an immense amount of research to write on the experiences that slaves in the early 1900s experienced during slavery and even after the slavery period when the slave laws were abolished as well as the evident racism and discrimination that many African Americans faced. For example (Jim Crow law, etc). Hartman’s research also derives from secondary sources such as the experiences of slavery that were told by her ancestors and passed down her family line for generations. Hartman started involving more research that didn’t just brush the surface when her research that she found only touched on the topics of accounts written by slave master owners. For example, Hartman found research that was a diary entry from a slave owner that stated how he would abuse one of his slaves and what punishments he issued. While this diary entry contributed significantly to Hartman’s research involving the abuse of slaves, Hartman was interested in looking at slavery from the slaves’ view and producing accurate findings on the experiences of slaves and all that they endured as well as the effects after the abolishment of the slave law such as the continued racial discrimination of the African Americans.

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By analyzing Solomon Northrup and Saidiya Hartman’s writing, it is fair to say that Northup’s writing was based on his personal experience of slavery as well as his first-hand accounts of the gross violation of human rights. Hartman’s writing is based on secondary sources (experiences told from her ancestors as well as the research she has done) thus her evidence is not from a primary source but rather secondary. Although both Northup and Hartman have contrasting use of evidence (Northup’s personal experience of slavery) and (Hartman’s evidence on the experience of slavery from secondary sources and accounts), to analyze the aim of their writing is on the experiences that slaves went through (which was not pleasant) and the mistreatment and abuse of African Americans as they were seen as animals and not human beings. Their evidence is contrasting but their aims are similar.

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12 Years a Slave’ Reaction Essay. (2024, April 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/12-years-a-slave-reaction-essay/
“12 Years a Slave’ Reaction Essay.” Edubirdie, 10 Apr. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/12-years-a-slave-reaction-essay/
12 Years a Slave’ Reaction Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/12-years-a-slave-reaction-essay/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
12 Years a Slave’ Reaction Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Apr 10 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/12-years-a-slave-reaction-essay/

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