Louisiana Slavery

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After watching 12 Years A Slave and reviewing three reading about the film, I have found multiple similarities and differences in both film and readings. The similarities and differences I found can be seen dealing with how slaves were portrayed in the south, how Louisiana was viewed back in the 1800s, and how stereotypes of Louisiana took place in both film and readings. Although we have a good idea about Louisiana slavery back in the 1800s, we will never truly understand slavery. As to understand slavery you need to experience it. In both the readings and film, you find parts that contradict one another. Based on an unbelievable true story, 12 Years A Slave tells Solomon Northup’s story as to how one second he was a free man walking the…show more content…
The good Louisiana is shown when we see the massive fields of cotton and sugar cane. These fields are more than likely here because when Spain took over in 1762 they are the ones who introduced Louisiana to cotton and sugar (notes). This shows Louisiana was not just murky swamp water and mosquitos, that Louisiana had some profit to its name. Another good aspect of the film was it depicted some of the major stereotypes about the Louisiana slave history to be false. For example, it is very stereotypical of people to think that all masters mistreated their slaves by whipping, threatening, starving them, etc. However, that is not always the case. At one point in the film, a slave named Clemons Ray is shown running from the steamboat towards his master, who is welcoming him with open arms. Clemons was also kidnapped but his master went through the trouble to get him back so he could return home (12 Years A Slave, 0:25:05-0:25:35). Another example of how the film depicts false stereotypes about Louisiana slavery would be when they show a black mistress. Due to the stereotypes of slavery many think only Caucasian people owned slaves, however this is incorrect. It was shown in the film that a black mistress (Mistress Shaw) married a white planation owner and they both owned the slaves (12 Years A Slave, 1:07:10-1:09:59). The ugly Louisiana is shown throughout the entire film. Majority of…show more content…
The film was obviously not fully correct according to the readings. I stated examples above how the sexual behaviors seen between Solomon and the woman slave did not truly happen. Also, how the male slave was not stabbed by the sailor but rather killed by a disease. Thankfully, the film and articles did prove some stereotypes known to be true about Louisiana slaves and just the state of Louisiana to be wrong. If asked if I think the film exaggerated history my answer would be no. Some part of me wants to say they didn’t exaggerate it enough. I say this because in the reading by The Atlantic, it states Solomon actually received smallpox while on the steamboat which caused permanent scarring on his face. Nowhere in the film was anything said about smallpox nor was Solomon’s face messed up in any way. The Atlantic put it this way “It seems likely, therefore, that in this instance the original text was abandoned so that Ejiofor’s beautiful, expressive, haunting features would no go through the entire movie covered with artificial Hollywood scar make-up” (Berlatsky). I think even though the film has flaws it portrayed the life of a slave better than the articles. The film did a great job in showing the sequence of events in Solomon’s twelve years a slave

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