12 Years a Slave

by

Solomon Northrup

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Bass is a kind-hearted white carpenter from Canada who works on a construction project for Edwin Epps. This makes it possible for him to befriend Solomon, as Solomon has skills in carpentry, and the two work side by side. Bass and Solomon quickly form a tight-knight, secret friendship due to Bass’ abolitionist spirit, outspoken opinions, and his deep empathy for the injustice of Solomon’s situation. Bass is pivotal in securing Solomon’s freedom, as he sends several risky letters to Solomon’s contacts in New York, including Judge Marvin, Perry and Parker, and the Collector of Customs at New York. Bass, who has no family of his own, remains unblinkingly loyal and loving to Solomon and dedicates months of his life to helping him.

Bass Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by Bass or refer to Bass. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Graymalkin Media edition of 12 Years a Slave published in 2014.
Chapter 19 Quotes

If they are baboons, or stand no higher in the scale of intelligence than such animals, you and men like you will have to answer for it. There’s a sin, a fearful sin, resting on this nation, that will not go unpunished forever. There will be a reckoning yet—yes, Epps, there’s a day coming that will burn as an oven. It may be sooner or it may be later, but it’s a coming as sure as the Lord is just.

Related Characters: Bass (speaker), Solomon Northup , Edwin Epps
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

He spoke of himself in a somewhat mournful tone, as a lonely man, a wanderer about the world—that he was growing old, and must soon reach the end of his earthly journey, and lie down to his final rest without kith or kin to mourn for him, or to remember him—that his life was of little value to himself, and henceforth should be devoted to the accomplishment of my liberty, and to an unceasing warfare against the accursed shame of Slavery.

Related Characters: Bass (speaker), Solomon Northup
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

The secret was out—the mystery was unraveled. Through the thick, black cloud, amid whose dark and dismal shadows I had walked twelve years, broke the star that was to light me back to liberty.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Bass, Henry B. Northup
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bass Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character Bass appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 19
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
...a construction project on his land, aided by Solomon and a white Canadian contractor named Bass. A middle-aged bachelor with no other family, Bass wanders from state to state on his... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Bass frequently argues with Epps about slavery, declaring that the law “lies.” He asks, “Is every... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
Bass asks Epps what the difference is between a white man and a black man in... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Throughout the summer, Solomon works silently alongside Bass and is increasingly convinced of Bass’s trustworthiness. One day, while the pair work alone, Solomon... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
That night, Solomon explains to Bass how he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He begs Bass to write a letter... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Solomon tells Bass that all he thinks about is the joy that will come when he is reunited... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
When Bass returns to Epps’ plantation, he tells Solomon that it will likely take six weeks to... (full context)
Chapter 20
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
On the day before Christmas, Solomon is delighted to see that Bass has arrived at Epps’ plantation. Bass tells Epps that he’s in town briefly for business... (full context)
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
In the morning, Bass tells Solomon that he hasn’t received a reply from any of the three letters he... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
...telling the reader that he will briefly turn back the clock to August, “to follow Bass’s letter on its long journey” and “to learn the effect it produced.” (full context)
Chapter 21
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Solomon writes that Bass sent the three letters, including one to Parker and Perry, on August 15, 1852. The... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
...and tells Northup that he only knows one abolitionist in the area, a carpenter named Bass. Waddill “falls into a reflective mood” and asks his brother, Young Waddill, to find out... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
After many inquiries pertaining to Bass’s whereabouts, Young Waddill and Henry B. Northup find Bass and confront him about the letter.... (full context)