Paternalism In 12 Years A Slave

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When discussing slavery we mention how badly the slaves were treated but 12 Years A Slave is a movie that bring this atrocities to life through the eyes of Solomon Northup. This movie was adapted from the book written by Solomon Northup himself where he shows what slavery in the south truly looked like. He was a man who had his freedom stolen from him but thankfully he lived to tell the tale. His story shows us how black slaves were bought and sold at the market, what the transition from free to field slave looked like, what a normal day on the plantation was like, and how they were treated on these plantations.
The way in which slaves were bought and sold was just as bad at Steven McQueen portrayed it, if not worst. Like Solomon Northup,
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Masters often had a paternalistic way of thinking which gave them peace of mind. Throughout the movie there are examples of where this paternalism is shown. When the captives made it to port, Arthur was rescued by his old master and ran to him like a child that saw his father for the first time in years. Another example is when there was a flashback to when Solomon was a free man, him and his family visit Cephas Parker and William Perry’s store. While there, a black man looking very confused wanders in and a few moments later his master came in and scolded him like a father would to his child. Although some slaves would look at their owners in a paternalistic view, some hated their owner and anyone that dealt with slavery. When Solomon got off the boat, Theophilus Freeman, a slave trader, called role and when he said Platt, Solomon acted as if he did not hear a thing. This was a common form of resistance that usually ended in punishment. Resistance wasn’t an uncommon thing during slavery but with all the harsh treatment, that isn’t surprising. Although they lived a rough life as a slave they tried to find happiness in anything they can, even a corn husk doll. Patsey, the owner of this corn husk doll, was the most unfortunate character in the movie. She is constantly raped by Mr. Epps and abused by his jealous wife. She was the hardest working slave on the plantation and yet was still treated horribly. Because of this, she ran away to the neighboring plantation so she could get a bar of soap to bathe with. When she came back Mr. Epps ordered Platt to whip her until she bled. After the whipping, the order women slaves helped take care of her wounds and nurse her back to health. The slaves often had a strong community and when one member of the community died they had funerals for them. During the funeral in the movie, Platt seems to finally come to terms with the fact that he is a slave

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