How could I adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts? First, I would like to tell you who Solomon Northup was. Solomon Northup was born as a free man in New York. While in New York he had a family. He was very proud to be a free man. But, he was soon robbed of his papers that showed that he was a free man and was soon sold into slavery. How did this happen? Well, he was a violinist so some men asked him if he wanted to be a part in a circus. Now, his family was on a trip at that time so when he said yes (because he did) he did not think that he had to write a note to leave at his house to tell his family where he was when they got back because he thought that he would be back before they got home. Now, it turned out that the people were the people that sold him into slavery! After he arrived at the designated spot where he was supposed to meet the men, the captured him, took his papers, and sold him into slavery. And when his family arrived home and noticed that he was missing they could not find him because he did not leave a note. He tried many times to convince his “master” that he was a free man, but how could he without his papers? And his “master” threatened him that if he spoke of being a free man again, he would beat him with a wipe very, very hard.
Northup’s contrasts were so good that it makes the reader want to read more of the book. One of the largest contrasts in the book was regarding the positive and the negative sanctions against the slaves (which I wrote about in an earlier essay). I am a big reader, so I should know. It just makes me want to read more. He also shared small stories which would later in the book grow into a bigger story. Like stories not just of himself, but of other slaves as well. Like the sad story of the slave Eliza. If you have read the book, than you must have thought that Northup wrote this book from memory, and you are right! Northup could not have written his autobiography while he was in slavery, so he wrote it when he got out of slavery, though it sounds like he wrote it while was in slavery. He must have had a great memory. Also, if he could not write his autobiography in slavery and he wrote his autobiography, that means that he must have gotten out of slavery!
Now back to the topic: How could I adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts? I could observe for more contrasts I could adopt from movies, or books, or even from my own life. I could also note important events that took place in my life (also known as journaling). There are several different ways that I can adopt contrasts.