Slavery between Greed and Survival in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave
Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave is a powerful memoir and slave narrative that reveals the barbarity and inhumanity of the 19th-century American slave trade. Through his firsthand account of being kidnapped and sold into slavery, Northup exposes the greed, deceit, violence, and subjugation that drove white slave traders and masters to dehumanize and commodify black people for their own economic gain. Northup's narrative sheds light on the brutality of slavery and how it stripped both enslaved people and white slaveholders of their humanity. The book illustrates the horrors of slavery, from the physical and emotional abuse inflicted upon enslaved people to the use of religion to justify and uphold the system of slavery. Northup's narrative emphasizes the helplessness, impotence, and oppression of black slaves, particularly those who were born free but were abducted and sold into slavery like himself. Ultimately, the book reflects the resilience and determination of enslaved people to survive in a violent, oppressive, and hostile world.