12 Years a Slave and Whitman Essay

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Deciphering the Depiction of Black Characters in Film and Poetry The depiction of characters in both film and written poetry create a picture in the mind of the reader; these portrayals are an essential aspect of understanding the themes and storylines of these works of art. Black characters have been portrayed in various ways along different mediums and their history has been documented through literature and movies. The 2013 film 12 Years a Slave presents black characters as humans that endured many years of treacherous slavery and mistreatment. Walt Whitman’s 1855 poem “Song of Myself” also portrays black characters, though in a different light. In both 12 Years a Slave and “Song of Myself”, although black characters are depicted as slaves who are fighting to gain freedom, the film presents a drastically more emotional and surreal depiction of these struggles; the art of film allows for a more gut-wrenching illustration of slavery. 12 Years a Slave is a 2013 film directed by Steve McQueen, it is based on the true story of Solomon Northup and it is an adaptation of his 1853 slave narrative memoir. This film takes place in antebellum United States. In the movie a New York born, free African American is kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and then sold into slavery. He was offered a substantial amount of money to work with a couple men for two weeks; they proceed to drug him and deliver him to a slave pen. He works as a slave for many years and eventually finds the courage and a white man worth trusting to aid him in his fight to regain freedom. The main characters in this film are the slaves facing the struggle for freedom; Solomon’s story is even more extraordinary. After being a free man for so long and living, debatably, a fairly paralleled life to white men, Solomon is thrust into the world of slavery and captivity. All freedoms that he possessed were

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