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Midway through the movie "12 Years A Slave", Epp's wife asks Solomon to deliver a letter to the grocery store and made certain that Solomon could not read, leading the audience to believe the letter held some secret she did not want anyone to know about except for the store owner. On another trip to the store, along with the groceries that were purchased, the owner provides a scroll of parchment carefully wrapped in a bow.

On the way back to the plantation from the store, Solomon runs into the woods to read the letter in secret. He seems shocked by what's in the letter, but there is no mention (that I recall) as to what is in the letter. What is in the letter!?

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I think you misinterpreted the scene (Either that, or we saw different versions of the film). Here's the sequence I saw:

  • Solomon goes to the shop and is given some parchments wrapped in a bow. It's possibly empty parchment for letters.
  • Solomon runs to the woods and unfurls the parchments in secret. He doesn't seem to be in shock at all (we see him from behind), just intent on something, and the shot quickly desolves.
  • Solomon, back inside, secretly takes the folded piece of parchment that he hid in his sleeve earlier in the woods and puts it in his bag. He had stolen a piece of parchment from the ones he got in the shop to write that letter he's trying to send throughout the movie.
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Ah! That makes perfect sense. I missed the connection between the letter received and his need for parchment. I had assumed there was some secret that the parchment was going to unveil. Thanks for your take on the scene! – user13059 Mar 11 at 19:34

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