Triumph and Struggle in “12 Years a Slave”: Overcoming the Unthinkable

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Patsy’s Torturous Reality in “12 Years a Slave”

Second, the film talked about a woman slave named Patsy. She seems like a woman that was mentally, physically, and spiritually drained, especially having to deal with the slave master and his wife. It was like Patsy got punished in multiple ways. She was sexually abused and tortured by the mistress cutting her face, throwing things at her, letting her starve, and not being able to clean herself. In class, we learned to fear the mistress. She was jealous and mean and would do anything it took to punish the slave her husband was fond of. The mistress could not leave her husband because she would have nothing, so she stayed and tortured the slaves to get her way.

In the film, it seems like when Patsy was being whipped by Platt, it was not hard enough for her, so her husband took over, and the lashes on her back would make any person cringe. Knowing what slaves had to go through breaks my heart. The mental and physical state they were in through slavery was heartbreaking. During slavery, many slaves ran away, some were free, and many died as a slave. On the ship and the plantation, the slave women were being sexually abused, and the slave men could not do anything about it. The film showed one slave man trying to protect the slave woman and was killed for it.

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The Depth and Precision of McQueen’s Production

When a slave dies on the ship, they are thrown overboard, and on the plantation, the slave gives them a funeral and buries them. Steven McQueen built an awesome production. Doing the research from top to bottom, inside and out. I had to do some research on the creator of this film and to know where the film took place on different parts of the land across from where Solomon Northup was enslaved on the plantation, which brings chills down my spine.

Knowing where they were filming and getting into character made it even more important for the film to be a great one. Having to reenact what happened to our ancestors and what they went through during slavery made me wonder how they can get their minds to stay focused and not break character in rehearsal, at the table readings, and on film. This film might be hard to watch, but you do get a better understanding. This film makes you angry and emotional throughout the film. It takes you on a journey through slavery and the cruelty they endured. After watching the movie, I sat back for a while and had to take it all in.

Solomon’s Triumphant Return

The undeniable mistreatment of our ancestors had me enraged, yet beyond the surface, there is an amazing story of one’s hope, fortitude, and perseverance. After reading the exit comments, Solomon’s actions in choosing to make change versus remaining a silent or outraged victim (which would have been justifiable) are admirable. He wrote his slave narrative, helped with the underground railroad, and became an abolitionist for slaves to be free.

At the end of the film, Platt is confined in Bass one last time, and Bass finally sends the letter to Platts’s friend; the letter gets to Platts’s friend because they showed up at the plantation to get Plats. They asked him some questions, and Platt became Solomon again and got his freedom back. I cried when Solomon walked into his home and saw his wife and children standing there, he said that he was so sorry, and they embraced him. It was like meeting your family all over again. Solomon got to meet his grandson, who was named after him. Even though he was free again, his mental state was changed while being a slave, being someone’s property for twelve years, and not being able to do anything he wanted to do because he had to listen to the owner.

Reflection and Lessons from “12 Years a Slave”

In conclusion, the idea that any American could have his or her freedom taken from them and forced into a position of a Slave for 12 years is beyond comprehension. However, there are two sides to every coin and an uphill and downhill experience to every climax. We find that on the other side of this challenge of being a black man in a country where laws were written to enslave people who look like you for whatever reason they saw fit was the decision this man made to remain resolute and to demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and the ability to change your situation if you’re able to think, accept and embrace your own personal 12 years and fight from the standpoint of intelligence. This film achieves the goal sought after by driving home the horror of being a Slave and the strength to overcome slavery.


  1. McQueen, S. (Director). (2013). 12 Years a Slave [Film]. Regency Enterprises.
  2. Northup, S. (1853). Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853. Auburn: Derby and Miller.

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Triumph and Struggle in "12 Years a Slave": Overcoming the Unthinkable. (2023, Aug 11). Retrieved from

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