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15). hen describing his holding pen in ashington, DC, Northup described its location with painstaking accuracy, remarking that it was necessary, "in order to present a full and truthful statement…and to portray the institution of Slavery as I have seen and known it, to speak of well-known places" (Northup, p. 22).
Northup's careful construction of an impartial voice does not mean that his narrative is devoid of emotionality and even, on occasion, harsh judgment. He was not above calling some of those responsible for his agony "the incarnate devil" (p. 20) or a "coarse, heartless brute" (p. 102). His irony could sometimes be biting, as when he described a slave trader as "the very amiable, pious-hearted Mr. Theophilus Freeman," all the while recounting Mr. Freeman's brutal treatment of the slaves in his care (p. 35). And his descriptions of the bloody treatment of himself and others at the hands of…
Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. Radford, VA: Wilder Publications, 2008.
Obviously, urch beat Northup on his bare behind which certainly must have welted the skin. With this description, it is easy to see the brutal severity of such treatment which was often used not only as a form of punishment but also as a form of intimidation and as a warning not to attempt to escape. For Northup, this experience truly changed his outlook on living as a slave, for he admits that during the writing of his narrative, "Even now (my) flesh crawls upon my bones as I recall the scene. I was all on fire. My sufferings I can compare to nothing else than the burning agonies of hell!" (45).
As told in Chapter Seven, sometime later, after being sold into slavery by urch and his band of slave traders, Northup found himself in New Orleans, where he encountered his new master, William Ford, who lived in the…
Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. Intro. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Bantam
Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841 & Rescued in 1853. Baton
Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968.