Twelve Years a Slave takes place during the 1840's and 1850's in the antebellum south.It explains the story of Solomon Northup who was once a free black in the north, but is captured into slavery in the south.The story depicts the brutal suffering, pain, and degradation that he went through.However, his treatment varies as he is sold from one master to another.Solomon forms a different relationship with each new master.The slaveholder's own beliefs and behavior, therefore, reflect how he will treat his slaves.
One of thefirst masters that Solomon comes under is Burch.Burch, a slave trader, is mean and brutal and shows no sympathy.He values money and he will take any measure to make sure he is making a profit.Burch knew that if anyone found out that he captured a free man, he would lose his job and be sent to jail.When Solomon pleads he is indeed free, Burch brutally beats him.He doesn't care about his slaves, but only about making money off them.His values, therefore, are reflected in how he treats his slaves.
Solomon's next master is Freeman.His behavior is very similar to Burch's.He is a heartless man who sees slaves only as a means of profit.When William Ford makes an offer to buy a few of Freeman's slaves, Eliza is outraged and is thrown into a fit of panic at the thought of being separated from her daughter.Ford, feeling sorry for Eliza, agrees to buy the daughter too.
But Freeman, having no heart at all, refuses this offer.He knows that Eliza's daughter is a beauty and that he can make a lot of money off of her if he waits until she is older. Freeman's obsession with money has blinded him from human kindness and compassion. Many slaveholders in the south were brutal and showed no compassion for their slaves.Like Burch and Freeman, many slaveholders were only concerned about economic issues and production.
Many did not see their slaves …