Thesis on '12 Years a Slave' Essay: Bibliotherapy

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Stories as therapy: Bibliotherapy

    • Topic: Suffering
    • Book: 12 Years a Slave
    • Author: Solomon Northup
    • Published in the year 1853

Summary

At the beginning of the story, we can see that Solomon before being captive was a free man. He was born in July 1808. His father was a slave who has been liberated upon his master’s death. His childhood was spent mainly on his farm and also was educated and even played violin. He was happily married to Anne Hampton, she was a working woman and eventually, they settled down. Solomon worked everywhere, including performing violin, farming, and lumberjacking. And they even had three beautiful children named Elizabeth who was 10 years old, Margaret was 8 and Alonzo was 5.

In the year 1841, Solomon met two guys who offered top dollar for working with a circus, and the place of work was Washington D.C So as the pay was good and he had three children to feed he went there, and after a day of being a part of a festival and few rounds of drinks he fell ill. Before he reached the doctor, he was unconscious. When he got up, he was chained and was moving towards a new face of his life, He understood that he has been held in captivity by James H. Burch, Mr. Burch was infamous in Washington DC for the slave trade. When Solomon starts to talk about his rights as a free man Burch started to beat him and even told that he would kill him if he ever speaks of his freedom again. He is then transported to New Orleans, Louisiana. All the slaves along with Solomon transferred to Brunch’s associate Theophilus Freeman. For erasing his past and reducing suspicion of kidnapping his name was changed to Platt. Finally, Solomon was out for sale but due to the reason of his getting smallpox there was a slight delay, but as soon as he recovered, he was sold to a man named William Ford.

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Now Platt works on the plantation of Mr. Ford, a kind Christian master who is kind towards his slaves. It was a good time considering the life of a slave. Then suddenly Ford sold Platt to a person named John M. Tibeats due to financial issues. He was a very bad man and a worse master, while working, Tibeats becomes so furious that he attempts to whip Platt, but as Platt is stronger, he wipes his master instead. Tibetats tries to kill him two times but his attempt was in vain. If it wasn’t for William Ford and Chapin, the slaves wouldn’t be alive. As he failed to kill Platt in order to hurt him Tibetans sells Platt to a person known as the nigger breaker and his name was Mr. Edwin Epps. After being sold to Edwin Epps he lived under oppression in two separate plantations in Bayou Boeuf. Epps is a bad man who takes a whip everywhere he goes. As Solomon served under him for 10 years, he describes him and the stories of exploitation, degradation, and deprivation among slaves. For instance, a slave named Patsey was raped by Epps multiple times and he used to whip every slave throughout the day. One day she visits a friend at a nearby plantation to get soap because Epps wife doesn’t give it. When Patsey after borrowing a soap came back from the plantation, Epps got very angry because he thought the slave was having an affair with another man, as a punishment she was stripped naked and Epps even told Platt to whip the naked woman in front of everyone crying for a little bit of mercy.

Ten years of his life went as a slave and Solomon (Platt) is almost on the verge of breaking and losing hope, at this hard time Solomon meets Mr. Bass who was working with the current owner of Solomon Mr. Epps as a carpenter. Bass as an abolitionist helps Solomon, because of Mr Bass’s efforts Henry B. Northup who was a white relative of Mr. Immanuel Northup the former master of “Mr. Mintus Northup” or Solomon’s father, with the support of the law and sheriffs liberates Solomon. Finally, they travel to New York stopping in Washington, D.C., for a trial against James H. Burch for kidnapping him but didn’t get justice due to racism and finally, he gets reunited with his family.

The process of bibliotherapy

1. Identification

In this story, as we go through we will come across a Verity of characters who are facing different types of problems. The book talks about both master, slave, and their psychology. We can see that there are different types of people who get into slavery by being kidnapped and people who are born into slavery from their birth, some of the characters are rape victims and some are scared for life due to separation of family. The story also talks about different types of masters and other people who come in contact with the slaves. There are kind masters who treat slaves as they would treat their sons and daughters, there are other kinds of masters who are brutal and even brutality. The book also talks about random people who come across these slaves, in this a few percentage are afraid to do the right thing even though they know it and the others are willing to go to any extent to do what's right even if it hurt them or threaten them in any way. Some people in the story are having strong morals and follow a religion. So a reader can identify themselves with any character who has suffered a lot in their life. Even though if you haven’t suffered at the same intensity you can relate.

2. Catharsis

When we go through the story and relative ourselves with the characters the reader also goes through the same feeling. As we keep on relating to all the characters in different ways, we will be able to understand in depth the situation that they are in and will start to feel what they are going through. This may even make us stop then and there and it may give us the feeling that we can’t continue to read because of all the suffering that is happening around the character's life. When we relate this suffering with our own all the small and big things which happened in our life, we will suddenly start to feel the intense emotion of the character and the connection even deepens as the move along the story.

3. Insight

As we go through the suffering at the peak point we will realize that the things which are happening in our life are minimal suffering and pain compared to what may or what can happen. We know that life is volatile and it may lead to different opportunities or misfortune. In the story, we can see that there are certain people who risk their own life in order to save or help someone else in need. By this, we can understand that even though it is bad in the world and nothing is happening according to plan, If you have a little bit of hope and a positive mind you can achieve anything and move forward even though you are in the worst situation. As we complete the story we can realize that life is precious and we should be happy with all the things that we have like having food on our plate three times a day, having the opportunity of being educated, having a home to go to, having a family and many more. If we start to appreciate the things the have instead of whining about the things we don’t have our life would be happier and it will be much easier to flourish.

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Thesis on ’12 Years a Slave’ Essay: Bibliotherapy. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/thesis-on-12-years-a-slave-essay-bibliotherapy/
“Thesis on ’12 Years a Slave’ Essay: Bibliotherapy.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/thesis-on-12-years-a-slave-essay-bibliotherapy/
Thesis on ’12 Years a Slave’ Essay: Bibliotherapy. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/thesis-on-12-years-a-slave-essay-bibliotherapy/> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Thesis on ’12 Years a Slave’ Essay: Bibliotherapy [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/thesis-on-12-years-a-slave-essay-bibliotherapy/
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