Twelve Years a Slave Themes & Motifs

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Twelve Years a Slave.
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Slavery

Slavery is a major theme in the book “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. Slavery is an evil practice wherein one human being owns and treats another as mere property. It is a dehumanizing and malignant practice ended in the United States through the American Civil War. When Solomon is kidnapped and sold into slavery, the Civil War is still two decades off, and the anti-slavery Republican Party has not yet made its mark, nor been founded. Solomon, a free man, is aware of slavery only insofar as he has heard about it, and conversed with the slaves of southerners visiting up north.

Upon his release from bondage, Solomon is urged to write down his experiences of the “peculiar institution” of slavery, for Solomon has now experienced slavery firsthand not from birth, but after being born and living free. Solomon is in a unique position...

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This section contains 924 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Twelve Years a Slave Study Guide
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