12 Years A Slave Compare And Contrast Essay

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Movies have always had a way of bringing to life the written word. When a modern movie tries to portray the thoughts of long age, sometimes the perceptions of the modern world infiltrate the storyline. These perceptions can be seen when analyzing the movie versus the book of Solomon Northup’s 12 Years A Slave. Director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley were able to infuse the essence of Northup’s book, while also adding the views from now with regard to slavery. An initial contrast between the book and the movie is in regard to the livelihood and freedom portrayed of Northup in New York. The obvious being that the movie shows Northup with 2 children, when in reality he had 3 children. This, however, has no real bearing on the story. …show more content…
49) Northup blames William Ford 's position and upbringing for his participation in slavery, "The influences and associations that had always surrounded him, blinded him to the inherent wrong at the bottom of the system of Slavery." (Northup, Original 1853; reintroduced 2013, p. 49) Solomon felt that William Ford was a "model master", going on to note, "Were all men such as he, Slavery would be deprived of more than half its bitterness." (Northup, Original 1853; reintroduced 2013, p. 49) The movie does not portray Ford in this light, perhaps because then modern society would have to grapple with the fact that though slavery was inherently wrong, there were “nice” masters. The movie does give some insight into Ford’s humanity. Ford tries to buy Eliza’s children with her; Ford gives Solomon the fiddle and eventually tries to protect Solomon from Tibeats. Throughout his story, Solomon insists on the treatment of kindness expressed to him and the other slaves on the plantation by William Ford and his wife. Though the movie shows Solomon confessing to Ford his true identity and Ford claiming he cannot help him. In truth, Solomon never told William Ford his true identity, and one will never know had he done so what would have been the new ending to this …show more content…
Northup comes to get Solomon in the book and Mr. Parker comes in the movie. These are but a few differences between the two genres of this story. In reality there will always be parts of a book that cannot be incorporated into a movie for sake of time and interest. One can ask why then did they choose the scenes to depict that they did? The answer would be to elicit anger and frustration within the audience. In this time we as a society cannot fathom the practice of slavery. What we have read from Solomon Northup, Frederick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs, makes us cringe at the cruelty, dehumanizing treatment of people. How then to keep those memories alive? What is the most accessible medium to get a message across? The movies. For a generation that has not read a book and is not familiar with the cruelty of the institution of slavery, 12 Years A Slave educated. While there are some factual differences as pointed out above, the foundation of the story is there and the hope is that after watching the movie, you will pick up the book and learn

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