Analysis of Twelve Years a Slave
Walter Croncite once said “In seeking truth, you have to have both sides of the story.” After
reading Twelve Years a Slave, understanding of the life of a slave becomes clearer. However, one
can’t just say that everything Solomon Northup stated was ‘true’. In this book Solomon Northup
uses diction and first person point of view to let the people know that he is credible, but on the
flip side, some of these memories were twelve years old and he couldn’t remain biased
throughout the whole book- he uses many details and imagery that could make things seem
worse than what ...view middle of the document...
Another way he establishes credibility is through his diction. When he says “a
candid and truthful statements of facts” it makes the reader feel like they can trust him because
he says he going to be truthful, and he says what he is going to say is factual(pg.1).
While Solomon Northup did so much to try to remain as credible as he could, not everything
he said could be true. His memories were twelve years old and psychology has proven that when
bad things happen, the brain takes steps to try to relieve the stress of the situation. Solomon
Northup also couldn’t remain biased throughout the book. He has a soft spot for his family and
the women he served as a slave with(pg.3, pg.23, pg.65, pg.106). His details and imagery
areswriting make it hard to say he was being objective. He used words such as ‘mutilated’ and
‘penetrated’ which both have a negative connotation and make his true feelings shown to the
It is certainly clear that you can not use this book as a historical source because it is
somewhat slanted by the biased opinion of the author. Although there are certainly some insights
that you can discern from this piece of literature it is definitely one sided and you would need to
hear the other side of the story to get the whole picture.
Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave: Solomon Northup. San Bernardino, CA: Starling and
Black Publications, 2013. Print.