Twelve Years a Slave Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What may have been the underlying reason that William Ford was willing to let Mr. Eldret hire Solomon?

2. What inspired Solomon to design and build a fish trap?

3. Who had Solomon been thinking about right before the carriage went by on its way to the main house of the Epps Plantation?

4. According to Solomon, what other plantation owner was Mary McCoy most like?

5. What type of support did Bass contribute toward Solomon's quest for freedom?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 13 of the story, what was expected of the slaves who worked the cotton fields for Epps?

2. Why did Solomon feels more like a real human being while working for Judge Turner in Chapter 14 of the book?

3. Why was Samuel Bass so well-liked in and around Bayou Bœuf in Chapter 19 of the book?

4. In Chapter 12 of the story, why was the day following a night of Epps drinking especially hard on the slaves?

5. What happened to some of the slaves who tried to escape from a life in slavery in Chapter 17 of the book?

6. In Chapter 13 of the story, how did Epps show little concern if any when Solomon fell ill?

7. In Chapter 19 of the book, how did Solomon and Bass manage to meet secretly with one another to plan how arrangements for restoring Solomon's freedom would be handled?

8. How did the some of the slaves change their appearance at Christmastime in Chapter 15 of the book?

9. What type of situations involved long waiting times that Solomon had to endure in Chapter 20 of the book?

10. How did Mr. Eldret show respect for Solomon in Chapter 11 of the book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Solomon said that he understood why a religious man like William Ford could be religious and yet own slaves at the same time. He stated that the environment that Mr. Ford had been raised in, had led him to believe that owning another man was normal and acceptable.

Taking into consideration the way that William Ford operated -- he owned slaves, but gave them Bibles, explain why either his practice of religion or his practice of owning slaves appeared to be more important to him. Be sure to include reasons in support for the selection that you make.

Essay Topic 2

In Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup, male slave owners and dealers forced cruel and harsh punishment upon male slaves in direct ways. Punishment however, was not limited to male upon male. Acting discreetly and indirectly, female slave owners also managed to force cruel and harsh punishment upon female slaves.

Choose two women from the book whose lives included events of the type described in the preceding sentence. Who was punished? Who forced punishment upon her? How was her punishment carried out? Why was she punished? Was her punishment reasonable? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Close to the end of Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon was upset about the role that Burch had played in casting him into the throes of slavery. In relation to Burch being acquitted of any wrongdoing in the matter, Solomon wrote:

“I took pains to seek him out, to confront him in a court of law, charging him with the crime of kidnapping; and the only motive that impelled me to this step, was a burning sense of the wrong he had inflicted upon me, and a desire to bring him to justice. He was acquitted, in the manner, and by such means as have been described. A human tribunal has permitted him to escape; but there is another and a higher tribunal, where false testimony will not prevail, and where I am willing, so far at least as these statements are concerned, to be judged at last.”

Define the terms, “human tribunal” and “higher tribunal” as Solomon used them in his writing. Explain what you understood the terms to mean, why they were likely to have special meaning for Solomon; whether and how either or both terms tied into a particular theme in the story — and how those connections if any, occurred.

(see the answer keys)

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