160 Years Later, ‘12 Years A Slave’ Becomes A Movie

In the film, ’12 Years A Slave’, Steve McQueen narrates a forgotten, yet true story of Solomon Northup’s capture, his struggle and his eventual freedom. McQueen is known for making provocative and controversial films like ‘Hunger’-It was about a hunger strike at a prison in Ireland. McQueen and Chiwetel Ejio star in Northup’s film. The movie is the only firsthand account of a free black man who becomes a slave, and later regains his freedom. Not many are aware that the book is the inspiration behind the movie.

The idea that one is in a struggle for freedom is clearly brought out in the book. It almost reads like a fairy tale, because the protagonist is lured into working in the circus. Generally, any fairy tale has a sweet beginning and it explores dark themes. There is an extraordinary tension which the book maintains. The moments of tension holds the readers. Slavery is a place, where one doesn’t know what happens next. You can be sold the next day. Or, your children could be taken from you tomorrow. In fact, it is worse than torture.

Epps, the plantation owner is a significant character in the story. He is a peculiar person who has been driven mad due to circumstances and oppression. The readers experienced sympathy for him, because he in love with his slave and can’t understand why he is love with her. He indulges in violence and at one point, the readers feel sorry for him.

“The film is about love. It isn’t a word which should be tossed around frequently. The film is about humanity, a person’s dignity through tough and unfortunate situations”, McQueen said.

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