12 Years A Slave Narrative Essay

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Throughout the book, The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and the movie, 12 Years a Slave, we see many ways in which masters, overseers, and owners inhumanely manipulate their slaves, and how Solomon and Frederick resist. Within the centuries of slavery in the United States from 1619 to 1865 dehumanization took a huge toll on American slave’s lives, “For the African Americans, slavery reduced them into poverty and products by dehumanizing them from their ability to be considered actual people” (Capstick 1). Throughout slavery slaves were so low in social class that they were thought of as property, not humans. Over time we see Frederick and Solomon adapt to their surroundings by finding and creating ways to resist …show more content…
They didn't want a slave to know how to read and write because they didn't want them to know more than the owners. This was probably the most common dehumanization towards slaves back then. 92% of slaves in the 1800s didn't know how to read or write because their masters did not let them learn how to. “Fearing that black literacy would prove a threat to the slave system whites in the Deep South passed laws forbidding slaves to learn to read or write and making it a crime for others to teach them”(Simkin 2). In the book, Frederick douglass was introduced to reading and writing by his former slave owner Mrs. Auld. “It was at this moment that he figured out that education is the ticket to his freedom.” ( Douglass 78) He began from that day to teach himself to read and write by doing anything he could. He would even trick the boys to teach him to spell, “ In this way I got a good many lessons in writing, which it is quite possible i should never have gotten in any other way”(Douglass 87). Eventually teaching himself to do so he earned his freedom. “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” ( Douglass 107) this means it is very easy for a man to become a slave but for a slave to become a man it takes a lot of time and hard work and Frederick had to go through many years of strenuous work, brutal punishments, and …show more content…
They treated them like property. “Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine. There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holded the same rank in scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination .” (Douglass 90). They would beat them to keep them from having any power or thinking of having any power. These were all acts of dehumanization that we saw in the book and movie, and in real life slavery during the time. Every slave would have different ways of resisting the dehumanization set at them. Some would lead towards religion as a savior and others would lead towards family if they had or knew of their family. But in the book, The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and the movie, 12 Years a Slave, Frederick Douglass and Solomon Northup, both coming from different backgrounds, create their own ways of resisting the cruel ways of their masters and overseers that we don't usually see from slaves. Their tactics of resisting lead them both to freedom and becoming freed slaves in

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