12 Years a Slave

by

Solomon Northrup

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John Tibeats Character Analysis

Tibeats is the carpenter who buys Solomon from William Ford when Ford runs into financial troubles. A sharp contrast from the warm and tender Ford, Tibeats is a cruel and erratic master, frequently trying to harm or even kill Solomon despite the fact that Solomon is a hardworking and skillful craftsman. He eventually tries to hang Solomon, and almost succeeds, but he is stopped at gunpoint by an overseer named Chapin. Ultimately, Ford compels Tibeats sell Solomon, leading Tibeats to sell Solomon to the vicious Edwin Epps.

John Tibeats Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by John Tibeats or refer to John Tibeats. 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 8 Quotes

He was my master, entitled by law to my flesh and blood, and to exercise over me such tyrannical control as his mean nature prompted; but there was no law that could prevent my looking upon him with intense contempt.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), John Tibeats
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

I must toil day after day, endure abuse and taunts and scoffs, sleep on the hard ground, live on the coarsest fare, and not only this, but live the slave of a blood-seeking wretch, of whom I must stand henceforth in continued fear and dread. […] I sighed for liberty; but the bondman’s chain was round me, and could not be shaken off.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), John Tibeats
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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John Tibeats Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character John Tibeats appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
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Christianity Theme Icon
...hand at making one, and the loom turns out beautifully. When a carpenter named John Tibeats comes to Ford’s home to work on a construction project, Solomon is asked to help... (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
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Ford runs into financial troubles, partially due to having to pay Tibeats for all of his construction work, so in the winter of 1842, Ford sells Solomon... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
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Solomon accompanies his new master, Tibeats, to Ford’s plantation on Bayou Boeuf, which is nearly thirty miles from Ford’s home in... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
The Bayou Boeuf plantation is overseen by a kind white man named Chapin who dislikes Tibeats. Under Tibeats’ ownership, Solomon is forced to work extremely hard. Even though he is never... (full context)
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One late night, Tibeats orders Solomon to wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning, retrieve nails... (full context)
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As Solomon works, he realizes that Tibeats is in an even more sour mood than normal. Solomon repeats to him what Chapin... (full context)
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Tibeats violently hurdles toward Solomon, but Solomon tackles him to the ground. With his foot on... (full context)
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An hour later, Tibeats appears, riding up the bayou with two men carrying whips and rope. As Tibeats binds... (full context)
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When Tibeats and his companions drag Solomon to their tree of choice, Chapin comes running, brandishing a... (full context)
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...him to ride as quickly as he can to Ford’s home and tell him that Tibeats is trying to murder Platt (Solomon). 11000 (full context)
Chapter 9
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...he can’t move into the shade. Chapin paces around anxiously, watching the road down which Tibeats departed, but he does not unbind Solomon. Solomon realizes that Chapin expects Tibeats to return... (full context)
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Much to Solomon’s relief, Ford arrives and frees Solomon from the ropes. Moments later, Tibeats and his two companions also appear and argue with Ford and Chapin, though Solomon can’t... (full context)
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In the morning, Chapin warns Solomon to stay alert around his master, knowing Tibeats is likely to harm Solomon when he least expects it. When Tibeats returns, Solomon wonders... (full context)
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Tibeats hires Solomon out to Peter Tanner, Ford’s brother-in-law, whom Solomon immediately dislikes. Although he reads... (full context)
Chapter 10
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When Solomon’s services are no longer needed at Tanner’s plantation, he is returned to Tibeats. He knows that Tibeats will try to kill him at any given moment, so he... (full context)
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In a moment of quick thinking, Solomon kicks Tibeats and snatches the hatchet from his hand. As the two grapple, Solomon thinks, “life is... (full context)
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...doesn’t have a pass, the white man will capture him and send him back to Tibeats. He also knows that he looks like a fugitive—his clothes are tattered, and his entire... (full context)
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That evening, Ford listens sympathetically to Solomon’s story about fleeing from Tibeats and traveling through the swamp. Ford feeds Solomon and sends him to the cabin to... (full context)
Chapter 11
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As Ford and Solomon near Bayou Boeuf, they come across Tibeats on horseback, who turns around and rides alongside them. Ford chastises Tibeats for trying to... (full context)
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Tibeats briefly hires Solomon out to a man named Eldret. Solomon works long, hard hours chopping... (full context)
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...leaves the plantation early to return to Eldret’s plantation. Along the way, Solomon runs into Tibeats, who tells him that he has been sold to a man at the next plantation,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...a small village on the way back to Epps’ plantation, Solomon catches a glimpse of Tibeats and notices that he looks “seedy” and “out of repair.” Solomon knows that “passion and... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...kindness.” Solomon points out to the reader that not all slave owners are cruel like Tibeats or Epps; although rare, slaveholders like Ford and Miss McCoy do exist. (full context)