12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup(1807-1863), is the rather well known and famous autobiography of Solomon Northup. Much later after the autobiography was published the book was adapted into a major film, which was titled the same as the book. This autobiography is about Northup’s experiences as a slave for 12 years, after being kidnapped as a freeman from New York, and being torn away from his family. In the autobiography Northup includes a very tragic story about a woman named Eliza who was also separated from her children. But what were the differences between Northup’s and Eliza’s response to being separated from their children.
Northup was born a freeman in New York; he had a wife and three children, and was pretty happy before being kidnapped. The reason why he was kidnapped was because he had taken a good offer to play the fiddle(which he was very skilled at). But unfortunately he fell ill during that time, and before he knew it he was in the chains of slavery. So because his kidnapping happened so unexpectedly he didn’t have the chance to notify or say goodbye to his family. This devastated him, but he got through it thanks to the thought that his wife and children were safe and sound in New York, and that maybe someday he would be able to reunite with them again. So in short knowing that his family was alright and what would happen to them was the thing that comforted him during this very difficult time.
Eliza on the other hand had lived on the plantation of a wealthy and just owner, who treated her well, and had also promised her freedom after his death. But her master had some issues with his wife, which eventually led to him throwing her out. But unfortunately Eliza was actually the slave of her owner’s ex-wife, and when the estate was being divided she fell under the control of the owner’s daughter’s husband. But when she went down to a city she was kidnapped along with her children back into slavery. Eliza worried and stressed over the fact that she would be sold separately from her children which was one of the great wrongs of slavery. Her worries came true sadly, and her children were going to be sold separately, which broke her. Even though she was able to say goodbye to her children, the harsh reality of the fact that she would never see them again, and that the fate of her children would forever be unknown broke her heart which eventually led to her death soon after.
In short, Northup and Eliza’s responses to be separated from their children are pretty different. Northup thought he was devastated to be torn away from his family so suddenly, was comforted by the fact that his family’s well being was safe, and that someday he would be able to reunite with them. Eliza on the other hand would most likely never know the fate of her children after being separated from them which crushed her so much that soon after she died from grief and a broken heart. Hence these were the differences between the responses of Northup and Eliza.