Film Analysis Essay on Twelve Years a Slave

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1088 Words
Date:  2022-05-23


Northup Solomon's 12 Years a Slave describes the biographer's life story a free African-American man who lived in the North and was kidnapped and traded into servitude during the pre-Civil warfare in the South (Northup, 2012). The child of a liberated slave got born independent. He married, worked, and lived uptown New York where his household dwelled. Northup was an accomplished violin player as well as a multidimensional worker. In late 1841, some con people provided him with a productive work playing fraud in an event upon which he decided to travel with them to Washington, D.C (Northup, 2012). Upon his arrival, Solomon got kidnapped, drugged and consequently traded as a slave in the regions of the Red River located in Louisiana (Bradley, 2017). For the subsequent twelve long years, Solomon subsisted as the human possessions of various slave owners. The main part of his captivity lives involves the cruelty of his masters such as Epps Edwin among other plantation owners (Bradley, 2017). In 1853 January, Solomon eventually got liberated with the help of his Northern helpers who rescued him. He went back home to his household in uptown New York and while there he wrote his tale of the 12 Years a Slave by the assistance of Wilson David (Northup, 2012).

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Psychological Analysis of the Movie

The task of empathy in prose requires an approach of compassion founded upon the non-verbal imitation of the character's encounters with films, plays, and novels. According to Dege, 2014, states that fiction involves narratives where characters experience vicissitudes and act on their experiences. Viewers get to enjoy entering into the character's lives, ensuing their ventures and developing to sympathize with them as their ideas advance or encounter complications (Wedding et al., 2010). Lange's emotion theory states that the viewers also enjoy interacting with characters with whom they identify with as well as those who remind them of the emotional incidents within their personal lives (Cannon, 1927). Correspondingly, Sternberg, 1998, defines empathy in movies by stating that films are engines which produce sympathy through letting people to slightly comprehend more diverse aspirations, fears, dreams, and hopes. He further suggests that movies allow one to relate with individuals who share a similar expedition with them.

For instance, in relation to 12 Years a Slave, there exists various incidents of the gap being extended and later decreased slightly when viewers notice sympathy amongst the film's characters (Bradley, 2017). The empathy is majorly exhibited by the main character Northup for others and infrequently from other characters to him (Bradley, 2017). Bass character offers Northup a sense of this sympathy when Northup asks him to prepare individuals back within the Springs of Saratoga. However, it is in the scene when Northup for the first time sees Mr. Parker that the audience gets gripped by the tear ducts and simply allows it to drift. And if this is not sufficient, one gets a booster shot when Northup gets reunified with his household.

The reason behind the audiences induced emotions is due to the feeling of hope, or empathy and compassion which suddenly replaces the state of despair in the movie (James, 2013). But whatever triggers it is that in one incident what had been a massive "Mirror Neuron breach" is suddenly terminated and in that instant of its being dismissed the audience get overcome with the sensation of completeness and wholeness (Bradley, 2017). This aspect replaces that turmoil and tragedy that the viewers had along the entire film period and it is in this enormous reprieve as well as perseverance to their des-pair (sensation of being unpaired with a universe which we care about but care little concerning us) and incompleteness that they impulsively break into tears.

Personal Reflection

This movie' power is entailed in the specifics that are not common in films. For example, the first scenes of the movie provide a depiction that we never get in any screen that is an African-American lady and gentleman (Northup together with his spouse), simply resting with their faces close in an intimate manner, staring into one another eyes and quietly speaking (Bradley, 2017). When I stared at Northup getting abducted and sold into repression, I took it personally. The scene made me developed some sensation as if I personally knew Northup. This made me think about our older generations such as my grandparents who were our matron, their daughters as well as my cousins as well as the manner in which Northup would have been a predecessor to any of my folks. Solomon's strength served as my family's strength too. In the beginning, when the white folks began to beat him after being sold to slavery, each whack that he bears to me felt as if these were efforts intended by the white people to discourage people of my race-African-Americans. I another instance, the second captivating scene in this film involves where the bosses repeatedly trespassed the captives lives. How the captives hang on to get punished in the absence of the chains-however with no place to escape. The labels that the captives had to put on their necks if they did not attend to work in the plantations and forced to sing as they worked while also being beaten.

Repression was a mental mistreatment during this era that got practiced on an enormous scale which is a thing that I had never deliberated-the possibility and fear of retribution each and every place, for anything. The ladies who were not in a position to secure themselves from their bosses' immoral behavior of frequent rape. They could neither safeguard their kids and men were not able to safeguard their families since the masters had the power to obstruct them anytime. If it were me, then they would have to execute me because there is no way I was going to be submissive, but again probably not since if I were born during this era, I probably would have cooperated with the white folks as a survival mechanism.


Bradley, R. (2017). Reinventing Capacity: Black Femininity's Lyrical Surplus, and the Cinematic Limits of 12 Years a Slave. Black Camera, 7(1), 162-178.

Cannon, W. B. (1927). The James-Lange theory of emotions: A critical examination and an alternative theory. The American journal of psychology, 39(1/4), 106-124.

Dege, M. (2014). Master-Slave Dialectic. In Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology (pp. 1151-1156). Springer New York.

Northup, S. (2012). Twelve years a slave. Courier Corporation.

James, W. (2013). The principles of psychology. Read Books Ltd.

Patterson, O. (2016). Slavery and social death. Harvard University Press.

Sternberg, R. J. (1998). Cupid's arrow: Triangular Theory of Love. Cambridge University Press.

Wedding, D., Boyd, M. A., & Niemiec, R. M. (2010). Movies and mental illness. Gottingen: Hogrefe.

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