Quotes by 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup: We need a sympathetic ear. If we have an opportunity to explain our situation... Clemens: Who in your estimation is that sympathetic ear? Solomon Northup: The two men I journeyed with. I'm certain they're making inquires at this very moment. Clemens: I would be just as certain they are counting the money paid for delivering you to this place. Solomon Northup: They were not kidnappers. They were artists. Fellow performers. Clemens: You know that? You know for certain who they were? [Solomon cannot answer] Clemens: How I reckon the situation: whatever past we had... well, that's done now. The reality to come is us being transported southward. New Orleans if I were to venture. After we arrive, we'll be put to market. Beyond that... Well, once in a slave state I suppose there's only one o

12 Years a Slave
Hamilton: I'm afraid that Brown and I haven't brought you much luck. But rough waters bring smooth sailing. Eventually they do. Solomon Northup: So... so sorry... Hamilton: Shhh. We won't hear it. We won't. Brown: Let him sleep. Hamilton: Hmm. A good night's sleep. And tomorrow... tomorrow you will feel as well and refreshed as though the earth were new again. Brown: Hamilton! Nothing more we can do for him. Hamilton: Such is the
12 Years a Slave

Burch: Well, my boy, how yah feel now? Solomon Northup: I am Solomon Northup. I am a free man; a resident of Saratoga, New York. The residence also of my wife and children who are equally free. I have papers. You have no right whatsoever to detain me... Burch: Yah not any... Solomon Northup: And I promise you - I promise - upon my liberation I will have satisfaction for this wrong. Burch: Resolve this. Produce your papers. [Solomon searches and finds no papers] Burch: Yah no free man. And yah ain't from Saratoga. Yah from Georgia. Yah ain't a free man. Yah nuthin' but a Georgia runaway. Yah a runaway nigger from Ge

12 Years a Slave
Radburn: Jus takin' a li'l trip, tha's all. Don't want to frighten the chil'ren none over a li'l boat ride, do yah?
12 Years a Slave

Patsey: I went to Massa Shaw's plantation! Edwin Epps: Ya admit it. Patsey: Freely. And you know why? [she produces a piece of soap from the pocket of her dress] Patsey: I got this from Mistress Shaw. Mistress Epps won't even grant me no soap ta clean with. Stink so much I make myself gag. Five hundred pounds 'a cotton day in, day out. More than any man here. And 'fo that I will be clean; that all I ax. Dis here what I went to Shaw's 'fo. Edwin Epps: You lie... Patsey: The Lord knows that's all. Edwin Epps: You lie! Patsey: And you blind wit yer own covetousness. I don't lie, Massa. If you kill me, I'll stick ta that. Edwin Epps: Oh, I'll fetch you down. I'll learn you to go to Shaw's. I'll take the starch outta ya. Treach, go get s

12 Years a Slave
Edwin Epps: [bursting into the slaves' quarters in the middle of the night] Get up! Get up, we dance tonight! We will not waste the evenin' with yer laziness. Get up.
12 Years a Slave

Edwin Epps: [Having awakened Solomon in the middle of the night, Epps coaxes him outside, puts his arm around him as if consoling a friend, and guides him into the woods] Well, boy. I understand I've got a larned nigger that writes letters and tries to get white fellows to mail 'em. Well, Armsby tol' me today the devil was among my niggers. That I had one that needed close watchin' or he would run away. When I axed him why, he said you come over to him and waked him up in the middle of the night and wanted him to carry a letter to Marksville. What have yah got to say to that? Solomon Northup: There is no truth in it. Edwin Epps: You say. Solomon Northup: How could I write a letter without ink or paper? There is nobody I want to write to 'cause I hain't got no friends living as I know of. That Armsby is a lying drunken fellow. You know this, just as you know that I am constant in truth. Now, master, I can see what that Armsby is after, plain enough. Didn't he want you to hire him for an overseer? That's it. He wants to make you believe we're all going to run away and then he thinks you'll hire an overseer to watch us. He believes you are soft soap. He's given to such talk. I believe he's just made this story out of whole cloth, 'cause he wants to get a situation. It's all a lie, master, you may depend on't. It's all a lie. Edwin Epps: [reveals a pocket knife he'd had pressed against Solomon's gut the entire time] I'll be damned... Were he not free and white, Platt. Were he not free and wh

12 Years a Slave
Solomon Northup: [Solomon awakens Armsby in the middle of the night. He offers him a handful of coins] The proceeds of my fiddling performances. A few picayunes, but all I have in the world. I promise them to you if you will do me the favor I require. But I beg you not to expose me if you cannot grant the request. Armsby: What do you ask? Solomon Northup: First, your word, sir. Armsby: On my honor. Solomon Northup: It is a simple enough request. I ask only that you deposit a letter in the Marksville post office. And that you keep the action an inviolable secret forever. The details of the letter are of no consequence. Even at that, there would be an imposition of much pain and suffering were it known I was the author. A patron is what I require, sir. Armsby: Where is the letter now? Solomon Northup: It is not yet written. I will have it in a day. Two at most, my skill with composition as poor as it is. Armsby: I will do it. And will accept whatever payment is o
12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup: I don't want to survive. I want to live.

12 Years a Slave
Tibeats: I thought I told yah ta commence ta puttin' on clapboards this morn'.