12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup


Read the book 12 Years a Slave (including the Introduction) by Solomon Northup and respond to the essay prompt below in an 800-1,000-word essay.
1) All essays should be typed and double spaced (with the exception of the header, which should be single spaced).
2) Use 12 point font (Times New Roman or something similar – no crazy fonts).
3) Use 1 inch margins. Text should be aligned to the left.
4) Use a header in the top left corner of the paper. The first line of the header should have your name. The second line of the header should read “Book Essay.” The third line of the header should be the date. Leave a single space between the header and the first paragraph of your essay. The header should be on the first page only.
Book Essay
April 12, 2018
5) Pages should be numbered, with the numbers centered at the bottom of the page.
6) Spelling and grammar are important, so be sure to check your paper for any errors.
7) Direct quotes should be placed in quotation marks with the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence but BEFORE the period.
Be sure to follow these formatting instructions or you will lose 2-3 points off your total score. Note that essays must be at least four FULL pages or you will lose points. Papers should be no more than five pages, but if you go over by a few sentences, that will be acceptable.
Essay Prompt

In his memoir, Solomon Northup describes his experiences a free man who was captured in 1841 and illegally sold into slavery for the next 12 years. In an 800-1,100-word essay, respond to each of the following questions:
1) How does Northup come to be enslaved in Louisiana? Briefly summarize the story of his capture and selling.
2) What were 2-3 of his impressions about slavery (i.e., what did he think about other slaves? Slave-owners? Slavery itself)? With this, be sure to explain the situation or person he was observing and how those things influenced his perceptions about slavery.
3) What sort of work does Northup do while he is enslaved? Give 2 specific examples of the work he did and how he felt about it.
4) How is Northup freed from enslavement? Briefly summarize the story of how he is freed.
Also be sure to also include:
1) An introduction where you explain who Northup was, where he came from, and what happened to him.
2) A conclusion in which you explain whether his captors were punished for their crimes and if they were not, why do you think that was?
Grading Rubric
You will be graded on the following criteria, so be sure to read this section carefully. To earn as many points as possible, you need to ensure you respond to all parts of the prompt, provide specific examples with relevant details (think of the Five W’s), and write your essays in clear, complete sentences.
1) Does the student respond to all parts of the prompt?
2) Does the student include an introduction and briefly explain Northup’s biography and what happened to him?
3) Does the student explain the major details of Northup’s capture? Does she or he include names, locations, and relevant events?
4) Does the student explain Northup’s impressions of slavery? Including: 2-3 examples with relevant details of names, locations, and what took place to give Northup his impression.
5) Does the student describe the sort of work that Northup does while enslaved? Including 2 examples of specific types of labor Northup performed and how he felt about his forced work.
6) Does the student explain how Northup was freed from enslavement? Including names, locations, and relevant events.
7) Does the student include a conclusion in which she or he explains if Northup’s captors were punished and if not, why?
8) Does the student seem to have read the book in a complete and thorough way?
9) Does the student have clear writing, including: complete sentences, proper spelling, and grammar? Does the student follow the formatting instructions for the essay?
10) Overall, how effective is the essay by the student?
Essay writing
Essays are short pieces of writing that discuss a specific topic and include the views or opinions of the author. Your response must be in essay format. This means you should have an introduction that includes the argument or main idea of the essay, several paragraphs of supporting evidence for the main idea, and a conclusion that explains the significance of the topic or how it relates to other parts of history. If you want further guidance, review the “Tips for Essay Writing” document on Canvas as it includes some helpful information about writing a strong history essay.
Do NOT summarize the entire book. Respond directly to the specific questions and instructions for what to include.

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A small number of quotations is acceptable to enhance your own writing. If you include any writing from the book, be sure to place the quote in quotation marks with the page number in parentheses after the sentence. Here is an example: “I know it from my own experience” (70).
Final Note
12 Years a Slave is also a motion picture (and a good one at that!), but your essay needs to include information specifically from the book. Also, your essay should be original writing that you have done yourself. Do not use additional source material when writing this essay – sourced or unsourced

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