12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup Character Analysis

Solomon Northup, the author and protagonist of the memoir, is born a free black man in New York, where, at the start of the story, he lives a pleasant life with his wife, Anne, and their three children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. He is known by the community as an excellent fiddle player, a family man, and a hard worker. These traits unknowingly lead him into a trap, when, needing a source of income to help his family, Solomon agrees to travel to Washington D.C. with two new acquaintances (Brown and Hamilton) to play the fiddle in their circus. The two men betray Solomon, selling him into slavery to James Burch. Solomon lives as a slave for twelve years for three different masters—first, the kindhearted William Ford, then the violent John Tibeats, and finally, the exceedingly cruel and evil Edwin Epps. Solomon is known to his masters and fellow slaves as Platt, a name given to him by Burch. Solomon’s talent as a fiddle player provides him a sense of comfort and solace during his years as a slave and enables him to make a little money by performing at other slave owners’ social gatherings. He also distinguishes himself as a natural at harvesting sugar cane, and a skilled carpenter—a skill which eventually leads him to cross paths with the Canadian carpenter, Bass, who helps Solomon regain his freedom. Especially during Edwin Epp’s violent, ten-year ownership, Solomon finds hope in God and the prospect of seeing his family again one day. This dream is fulfilled at the end of the book, when Solomon returns home to New York to find his wife and children alive and well.

Solomon Northup Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by Solomon Northup or refer to Solomon Northup . 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 1 Quotes

Thus far the history of my life presents nothing whatever unusual—nothing but the common hopes, and loves, and labors of an obscure colored man, making his humble progress in the world […] Now I had approached within the shadow of the cloud, into the thick darkness whereof I was soon to disappear, thenceforward to be hidden from the eyes of all my kindred, and shut out from the sweet light of liberty, for many a weary year.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker)
Page Number: 9
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Chapter 2 Quotes

The idea struck me as a prudent one, though I think it would scarcely have occurred to me, had they not proposed it […] I must confess, that the papers were scarcely worth the cost of obtaining them—the apprehension of danger to my personal safety never having suggested itself to me in the remotest manner.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Merrill Brown, Abram Hamilton
Related Symbols: Free papers
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
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Then did the idea begin to break upon my mind, at first dim and confused, that I had been kidnapped. There must have been some misapprehension—some unfortunate mistake. It could not be that a free citizen of New-York, who had wronged no man, nor violated any law, should be dealt with thus inhumanly […] I felt there was no trust or mercy in unfeeling man.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Merrill Brown, Abram Hamilton
Related Symbols: Free papers, Chains
Page Number: 18
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Chapter 3 Quotes

Though suspicions of Brown and Hamilton were not unfrequent, I could not reconcile myself to the idea that they were instrumental to my imprisonment. Surely they would seek me out—they would deliver me from thraldom. Alas! I had not then learned the measure “man’s inhumanity to man,” nor to what limitless extent of wickedness he will go for the love of gain.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Merrill Brown, Abram Hamilton
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

So we passed, hand-cuffed and in silence, through the streets of Washington—though the Capital of a nation, whose theory of government, we are told, rests on the foundation of man’s inalienable right to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness! Hail! Columbia, happy land indeed!

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Ebenezer Radburn
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

My cup of sorrow was full to overflowing. Then I lifted up my hands to God, and in the still watches of the night […] begged for mercy on the poor, forsaken captive. To the Almighty Father of us all—the freeman and the slave—I poured forth the supplications of a broken spirit, imploring strength from on high to bear up against the burden of my troubles […].

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Theophilus Freeman
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

He would make us hold up our heads, walk briskly back and forth, while customers would feel of our hands and arms and bodies, turn us about, ask us what we could do, make us open our mouths and show our teeth, precisely as a jockey examines a horse which he is about to barter for or purchase.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Theophilus Freeman
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

The influences and associations that had always surrounded him, blinded him to the inherent wrong at the bottom of the system of Slavery. He never doubted the moral right of one man holding another in subjection. Looking through the same medium with his fathers before him, he saw things in the same light. Brought up under other circumstances and influences, his notions would undoubtedly have been different.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), William Ford
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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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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Chapter 13 Quotes

Bent with excessive toil—actually suffering for a little refreshing rest, and feeling rather as if we could cast ourselves upon the earth and weep, many a night in the house of Edwin Epps have his unhappy slaves been made to dance and laugh.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Edwin Epps
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
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He could have stood unmoved and seen the tongues of his poor slaves torn out by the roots—he could have seen them burned to ashes over a slow fire, or gnawed to death by dogs, if it only brought him profit. Such a hard, cruel, unjust man is Edwin Epps.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Edwin Epps
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
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[…] it had fallen to her lot to be the slave of a licentious master and a jealous mistress. She shrank before the lustful eye of one, and was in danger even of her life at the hands of the other, and in between the two, she was indeed accursed.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Edwin Epps, Patsey, Mistress Epps
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

The existence of Slavery in its most cruel form among them has a tendency to brutalize the humane and finer feelings of their nature. Daily witnesses of human suffering—listening to the agonizing screeches of the human slave—beholding him writhing beneath the merciless lash—bitten and torn by dogs—dying without attention, and buried without shroud or coffin—it cannot otherwise be expected, than that they should become brutified and reckless of human life.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Edwin Epps
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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It is not the fault of the slaveholder that he is cruel, so much as it is the fault of the system under which he lives. He cannot withstand the influence of habit and associations that surround him. Taught from earliest childhood, by all that he sees and hears, that the rod is for the slave’s back, he will not be apt to change his opinions in mature years.

Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

Alas! Had it not been for my beloved violin, I scarcely can conceive how I could have endured the long years of bondage. It […] relieved me of many days’ labor in the field […] and oftentimes led me away from the presence of a hard master. […] It was my companion—the friend of my bosom—triumphing loudly when I was joyful, and uttering its soft, melodious consolations when I was sad. Often […] it would sing me a song of peace.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker)
Page Number: 155
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Chapter 17 Quotes

No man who has never been placed in such a situation, can comprehend the thousand obstacles thrown in the way of the flying slave. Every white man’s hand is raised against him—the patrollers are watching for him—the hounds are ready to follow on his track—and the nature of the country is such as renders it impossible to pass through it with any safety.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker)
Page Number: 173
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Chapter 18 Quotes

It was the Sabbath of the Lord. The fields smiled in the warm sunlight—the birds chirped merrily amidst the foliage of the trees—peace and happiness seemed to reign everywhere, save in the bosoms of Epps and his panting victim and the silent witnesses around him. The tempestuous emotions that were raging there were little in harmony with the calm and quiet beauty of the day. I could look on Epps only with unutterable loathing and abhorrence, and thought within myself—“Thou devil, sooner or later, somewhere in the course of eternal justice, thou shalt answer for this sin!”

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Edwin Epps, Patsey
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
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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:
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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
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Chapter 22 Quotes

I was then offered as a witness, but, objection being made, the court decided my evidence inadmissible. It was rejected solely on the ground that I was a colored man—the fact of my being a free citizen of New-York not being disputed. […] Burch himself was offered as a witness in his own behalf. It was contended by counsel for the people, that such testimony should not be allowed—that it was in contravention of every rule of evidence, and if permitted would defeat the ends of justice. His testimony, however, was received by the court!

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Henry B. Northup
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:
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I have no comments to make upon the subject of Slavery. Those who read this book may form their own opinions of the “peculiar institution.” What it may be in other States, I do not profess to know; what it is in the region of Red River, is truly and faithfully delineated in these pages. This is no fiction, no exaggeration. If I have failed in anything, it has been in presenting to the reader too prominently the bright side of the picture.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker)
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:
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Solomon Northup Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character Solomon Northup appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Solomon Northup begins with an address to the reader, noting that the following narrative will “not... (full context)
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Solomon provides a brief genealogy. His ancestors on his father’s side of the family were slaves... (full context)
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Solomon remembers his father Mintus fondly for his “peaceful pursuits of agriculture,” his commitment to providing... (full context)
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Recounting the rest of his childhood, Solomon writes that when he wasn’t working on the farm in Fort Edward, New York where... (full context)
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Solomon briefly recounts his young adult life. He married a beautiful girl of mixed race named... (full context)
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Solomon and Anne move to Saratoga Springs in New York State in 1834, where Solomon works... (full context)
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Living in Saratoga Springs, Solomon and Anne live a humble life. They have three children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. Solomon... (full context)
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Solomon writes that, thus far in his account of his life, everything has been normal, “nothing... (full context)
Chapter 2
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One morning, in March of 1841, Solomon walks around the Saratoga Springs village, thinking of ways to make a little extra money.... (full context)
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...based in Washington D.C. but are in New York to do some sightseeing. They tell Solomon that they’re paying their travel expenses by putting on small shows along the way but... (full context)
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The three men travel by carriage to Albany, and Solomon takes part in that night’s performance—the only performance that Hamilton and Brown put on during... (full context)
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...day, the men depart from Albany and reach New York City. Hamilton and Brown urge Solomon to accompany them all the way to Washington D.C. to take part in their circus,... (full context)
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The next morning, Hamilton and Brown tell Solomon to get his free papers, since the group will be traveling to Washington D.C., a... (full context)
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The group arrives in Washington D.C. a few days later. Hamilton and Brown pay Solomon a generous forty-three dollars—more than their agreed-upon rate—claiming that they haven’t put on as many... (full context)
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Solomon interjects, explaining to the reader that during this time, he believed that Hamilton and Brown... (full context)
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Solomon is shown to his room at the back of the hotel. The following day, he... (full context)
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Sometime after midnight, Solomon hears several people enter his room. The people tell Solomon that he needs to see... (full context)
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When Solomon wakes up, he finds himself imprisoned by chains in a small, dark room. He tries... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...two white men—the infamous, cruel slave dealer named James Burch, and his assistant, Ebenezer Radburn. Solomon notes that Burch’s “whole appearance was sinister and repugnant.” Solomon also notes in hindsight that... (full context)
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With the door open, Solomon is able to get a better look at his surroundings, and he realizes that all... (full context)
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Burch gruffly tells Solomon that he is now his slave and will be sent to New Orleans. Solomon declares... (full context)
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...orders Radburn to retrieve the paddle and whip, and Burch proceeds to beat and whip Solomon severely, increasing the severity and power of his blows every time Solomon insists that he... (full context)
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Solomon’s wounds are so severe that he can’t rest in any one position for more than... (full context)
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After several days, Solomon is allowed “the liberty of the yard,” where he meets three other slaves: Clemens Ray,... (full context)
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Solomon reaffirms to the reader that his goal is to “present a full and truthful statement”... (full context)
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During his two weeks in Williams’ Slave Pen, Solomon meets Eliza, the mother of the young Randall whom Solomon had met previously, as well... (full context)
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...papers, he promptly sold Eliza and her children to James Burch. Listening to Eliza’s story, Solomon is overcome with grief and empathy, declaring Eliza’s story “enough to melt a heart of... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The group reaches a steamboat and is hurried aboard. Solomon is committed to keeping his spirits up and vows to himself to keep his past... (full context)
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Examining the slaves that Burch has brought, Goodin asks Solomon where he comes from. Solomon accidentally answers that he is from New York—much to Burch’s... (full context)
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Solomon is handcuffed to a large man named Robert, who, like Solomon, was born free and... (full context)
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...while the rest of the slaves board a large ship that departs for New Orleans. Solomon interjects, saying that Burch will reappear by the end of the narrative, “not in the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...New Orleans, picking up four more slaves. Among them is a slave named Arthur. Like Solomon and Robert, Arthur is a free man with a family and was kidnapped and sold... (full context)
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...that the “compassionate sea” would drown them, saving them from “the clutches of remorseless men.”  Solomon tells his reader not to judge him for any of his actions that follow in... (full context)
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One day, Arthur and Solomon talk at length about their families and their preference for death over slavery. They decide... (full context)
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Solomon, Arthur, and Robert are never able to put their plan into action, as Robert catches... (full context)
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The following night, Solomon hides under the small boat on the deck until the Manning’s shift ends. Once the... (full context)
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As Solomon watches Manning depart into town to send the letter, he sees two men approaching the... (full context)
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...traders, including one named Theophilus Freeman, board the ship. Freeman takes over Burch’s slaves, including Solomon, Eliza, a slave named Harry, and several others. He coarsely informs Solomon that he is... (full context)
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That night, Solomon replays the recent events in his mind, unable to come to terms with the fact... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...to dance to the tune of a fiddle, played by one of Freeman’s personal slaves. Solomon soon takes over on the fiddle, and Freeman is delighted by his musical talents. (full context)
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Solomon watches Eliza and her children be separated. Randall is bought first, and the man who... (full context)
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That night, many of the slaves come down with smallpox. Solomon, Eliza, Emily, and Harry grow so ill that they are taken to the hospital, where... (full context)
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Solomon tells the reader that Eliza never again saw her children. He says that her hope... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Solomon tells his reader that Ford is a Baptist preacher and is known for being kind... (full context)
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As Solomon travels with Ford and the other slaves to Ford’s home in the Great Pine Woods,... (full context)
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...assures her that she won’t need to work hard and can help inside the house. Solomon notices that Ford’s slaves speak tenderly of Ford, “as a child would speak of his... (full context)
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...lead an upright and prayerful life.” Although other slave owners think Ford is too soft, Solomon points out that Ford “lost nothing by his kindness.” His compassionate, gentle nature makes his... (full context)
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One day, while manufacturing lumber under the guidance of Ford’s foreman, Adam, Solomon comes up with the idea of transporting the lumber on the stream rather than on... (full context)
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Solomon describes the Native Americans living in the Great Pine Forest, with whom he becomes acquainted... (full context)
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...day, Mistress Ford asks Ford for a loom so that the slaves can make cloth. Solomon asks to try his hand at making one, and the loom turns out beautifully. When... (full context)
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Solomon thinks he would be happy serving Ford all his life if his family were there... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...Tibeats for all of his construction work, so in the winter of 1842, Ford sells Solomon to Tibeats. Tibeats pays more for Solomon than Ford’s debt to Tibeats amounts to, which... (full context)
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Solomon accompanies his new master, Tibeats, to Ford’s plantation on Bayou Boeuf, which is nearly thirty... (full context)
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...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 idle and performs his... (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 from Chapin,... (full context)
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As Solomon works, he realizes that Tibeats is in an even more sour mood than normal. Solomon... (full context)
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Tibeats violently hurdles toward Solomon, but Solomon tackles him to the ground. With his foot on Tibeats’ neck, Solomon begins... (full context)
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...appears, riding up the bayou with two men carrying whips and rope. As Tibeats binds Solomon’s wrists and ankles, one of the men threaten to break Solomon’s skull and tear apart... (full context)
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When Tibeats and his companions drag Solomon to their tree of choice, Chapin comes running, brandishing a pistol in each hand. He... (full context)
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...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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Solomon is left standing in the blazing hot afternoon sun with his limbs bound and the... (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... (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... (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 the Bible... (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... (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,... (full context)
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Running toward the swamp, Solomon realizes that he’s never heard of a single slave who escaped from Bayou Boeuf. As... (full context)
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With the dogs no longer on his tracks, Solomon pushes through the swamp, striking the water with a step before each step to make... (full context)
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...Ford lives. Along the way, he runs into a white man at a small plantation. Solomon knows that because he doesn’t have a pass, the white man will capture him and... (full context)
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The man, clearly frightened by Solomon (who looks more like an “infernal goblin” than a human), gives him directions and does... (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... (full context)
Chapter 11
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In the morning, Solomon tends to the garden to show his gratitude. Although Mistress Ford tells Solomon that he... (full context)
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On the fourth morning, Ford and Solomon set off for Bayou Boeuf. Ford rides on horseback while Solomon walks alongside him, though... (full context)
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As Ford and Solomon near Bayou Boeuf, they come across Tibeats on horseback, who turns around and rides alongside... (full context)
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Tibeats briefly hires Solomon out to a man named Eldret. Solomon works long, hard hours chopping wood, but he... (full context)
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As Solomon travels, many white men demand his pass. He tells the reader that for many white... (full context)
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Once at Ford’s plantation, Solomon spends the evening catching up with the other slaves. He is shocked to see the... (full context)
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The next day, Solomon leaves the plantation early to return to Eldret’s plantation. Along the way, Solomon runs into... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Epps’ primary business is growing and harvesting cotton. Solomon explains to the reader the way cotton is grown, noting that it takes two mules,... (full context)
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Solomon explains that the entire cotton-picking process is based on fear. If a slave breaks a... (full context)
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...a little bit each night is entirely their choice—“A very generous man was Master Epps,” Solomon remarks. The slaves keep their weekly allowance of corn and bacon inside a gourd. (full context)
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Solomon also describes the slave accommodations at Epps’ plantation. Each slave sleeps on a plank of... (full context)
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Solomon describes Epps’ cattle that inhabit the swamplands. The cattle are branded, and then herded toward... (full context)
Chapter 13
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In the summer, Solomon comes down with the smallpox but is still forced to work and is punished when... (full context)
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When Solomon has partially recovered, Epps forces him to return to work and pick cotton for the... (full context)
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...times, he decides “there must be a merry-making,” and forces his slaves to dance while Solomon plays the fiddle. Those who dance too slow are whipped. Sometimes Mistress Epps chastises Epps... (full context)
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Solomon writes that Epps “is a man in whose heart the quality of kindness or of... (full context)
Chapter 14
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One year, caterpillars destroy the cotton crop, so Solomon and several others are hired out to a man named Judge Turner to harvest sugar... (full context)
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During this time, Solomon is also hired out to play the fiddle at a “grand party of whites,” which... (full context)
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Traveling through 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.”... (full context)
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When Solomon returns to Epps’ plantation, he hears that Patsey has been subjected to crueler-than-usual punishment. Phebe... (full context)
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Solomon tells the reader that Mistress Epps is “possessed of the devil, jealousy,” when it comes... (full context)
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...enough to sustain life, so the slaves hunt for racoons and opossum in the swamps. Solomon also manages to construct a fish trap, which he describes in detail. The trap is... (full context)
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Solomon points out that although there are kind masters, the institution of slavery is still undoubtedly... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Since Solomon is skilled at harvesting sugar cane, Epps hires him out every season for the sake... (full context)
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At these feasts, Solomon plays the fiddle. He tells the reader that during his twelve years of bondage, he... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Solomon explains to the reader that most plantations have an overseer who ensures the slaves are... (full context)
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Epps enlists Solomon as a driver. Solomon knows that Epps is always watching and will know if Solomon... (full context)
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...for Patsey to follow him. Patsey begins to cry, “aware of his lewd intentions,” and Solomon whispers for her to continue working. Enraged at Solomon for interfering, Epps grabs Solomon by... (full context)
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Mistress Epps watches the “half-serious, half-comical maneuvers” from the distance, and Solomon runs to her for protection and tells her what’s going on. Epps, now mostly sober,... (full context)
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Solomon tells the reader that throughout his enslavement, he was constantly on the lookout for an... (full context)
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Solomon secretly keeps the letter for a long time, until one day, he finally finds a... (full context)
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The next day, Solomon’s suspicions are confirmed. Epps enters Solomon’s cabin, whip in hand, and confronts him about the... (full context)
Chapter 17
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One day, one of Solomon’s fellow slaves, Wiley, sneaks out at night to visit a friend and returns home late.... (full context)
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Every day, Solomon thinks of ways to escape, but the “thousand obstacles thrown in the way of the... (full context)
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Solomon meets a slave named Celeste who escaped from a cruel owner at a neighboring plantation.... (full context)
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Solomon tells the reader that the year before he arrived in Louisiana, a large number of... (full context)
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Even though Solomon knows that taking part in a rebellion is fruitless, he knows that one day, there... (full context)
Chapter 18
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An old man named O’Niel calls on Epps and asks to buy Solomon—a conversation overheard by Phebe, and quickly relayed to Solomon. Solomon tells Phebe that he hopes... (full context)
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Solomon writes that Epps’ aging slave, Abram, is often the recipient of overwhelming cruelty. One day,... (full context)
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Solomon recounts the cruelest whipping that he ever saw, which was given to Patsey. Epps partakes... (full context)
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Epps orders Solomon to secure four stakes into the ground. He forces Patsey to strip and secures her... (full context)
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Solomon writes that the day Patsey was brutally beaten “was the Sabbath of the Lord. The... (full context)
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...a game in which he rides out into the fields just to whip the slaves. Solomon knows that Epps’ son doesn’t know that “in the eye of the Almighty there is... (full context)
Chapter 19
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In the summer of 1852, Epps begins 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... (full context)
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Throughout the summer, Solomon works silently alongside Bass and is increasingly convinced of Bass’s trustworthiness. One day, while the... (full context)
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That night, Solomon explains to Bass how he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He begs Bass to... (full context)
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Solomon tells Bass that all he thinks about is the joy that will come when he... (full context)
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When Bass returns to Epps’ plantation, he tells Solomon that it will likely take six weeks to receive a reply from New York. Four... (full context)
Chapter 20
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On the day before Christmas, Solomon is delighted to see that Bass has arrived at Epps’ plantation. Bass tells Epps that... (full context)
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In the morning, Bass tells Solomon that he hasn’t received a reply from any of the three letters he sent. Solomon... (full context)
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After the Christmas festivities, Solomon and the other slaves return to work at Epps’ plantation. One morning, Epps is particularly... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Solomon writes that Bass sent the three letters, including one to Parker and Perry, on August... (full context)
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For Solomon’s case to be accepted and aided by the Governor, Henry B. Northup must prove that... (full context)
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...D.C., where he receives written support from a Senator who takes personal interest in restoring Solomon to freedom. Northup continues his journey to the Red River region of Louisiana, where he... (full context)
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...begin their search there, though the area is expansive and home to several thousand slaves. Solomon interjects in the narrative, commenting that the task at hand was even more complicated than... (full context)
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...claiming the letter is none of their business. Northup quickly explains his intentions in finding Solomon, and Bass tells him to go to Epps’ plantation and ask for a slave called... (full context)
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...one of Epps’ slaves. Knowing Epps will soon hear the rumor and get rid of Solomon, Waddill convinces the sheriff and judge to act immediately. With the judge’s signature in hand,... (full context)
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...cotton fields, where the sheriff asks the slaves which one of them is Platt. When Solomon steps forward, the sheriff asks him if he knows the man accompanying him, gesturing to... (full context)
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The other slaves are shocked to discover that Solomon was a free man, since he painstakingly hid his true identity from them. Meanwhile, Henry... (full context)
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Henry B. Northup and the sheriff speak with Epps and read their legal documents proving Solomon’s right to freedom. Enraged, Epps asks Solomon why he didn’t tell him he was a... (full context)
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Epps demands to know who wrote the letter to Perry and Parker, and Solomon refuses to tell him. Epps vows to bring “bloody and savage vengeance” upon whomever wrote... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Solomon and Henry B. Northup board a steamboat for New Orleans, and Solomon can’t keep himself... (full context)
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After a long journey by train and another steamboat, Solomon and Henry B. Northup arrive in Washington D.C., where they immediately go to the police... (full context)
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Soon after, Burch tries to charge Solomon with “conspir[ing] with the two white men to defraud him.” Solomon is arrested and brought... (full context)
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Henry B. Northup and Solomon reach New York in late January. When Solomon enters his family’s home, his daughter Margaret... (full context)
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Addressing the reader, Solomon says that his story has come to a close. He reaffirms that everything he has... (full context)