Equiano wrote to help show society the evils that lie in slavery. He used writing, to tell the truth of conditions of life for slaves, making readers feel every word he used through their senses: “The stench of the hold, while we were on the coast, was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for anytime” (Equiano 364). While they both wrote with different purposes in mind, Rowlandson and Equiano managed to paint a picture so vivid that it invoked emotions that edified society.
Although Olaudah Equiano was not directly involved in American slavery, several aspects of The Life of Olaudah Equiano can be used to understand why the institution lasted so long. A major part of the novel was dedicated to counter one of the major propagating ideas of slavery: the widespread myth that Africans were either not fully human or were of a less developed branch of humanity so enslaving them was moral. Equiano spends the first section of the book
One example of a black individual who was a significant influence on the abolitionist movement was Olaudah Equiano (also known as Gustavus Vassa) a freed slave that spoke about his terrifying life story which helped contribute towards the end of the slave trade. Equiano was born in 1736 and bought his freedom as a slave in 1767. Equiano began his involvement in the abolitionist movement in the 1780’s when he published his best-selling book ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African’ in 1789. At the time, many Britons thought Africans were illiterate but Equiano proved them wrong as he could ‘wield the English language well’ and learnt several skills whilst still a slave. Furthermore, his book
At the end of the excerpt from Equiano's Travels, the then-freed Negro and outspoken abolitionist summarizes his conclusions from what he has gained as a subject to both the experience of slavery and the Enlightenment in Europe. Equiano does this through a series of questions
"I believe there are few events in my life which have not happened to many; it is true the incidents of it are numerous, and, did I consider myself an European, I might say my sufferings were great; but when I compare my lot with that of most of my countrymen, I regard myself as a particular favorite of heaven, and acknowledge the mercies of Providence in every occurrence of my life." Olaudah Equiano lived the life as a slave like many black people of the 18th century. He was born free but soon was forced into slavery which took him all around the world. From his accounts he has written down, he shows his life as a slave. Equiano had been bought and sold throughout the Americas and Europe; he showed the
The narrative of Olaudah Equiano is truly a magnificent one. Not only does the reader get to see the world through Equiano's own personal experiences, we get to read a major autobiography that combined the form of a slave narrative with that of a spiritual conversion autobiography. Religion may be viewed as at the heart of the matter in Equiano's long, remarkable journey. Through Equiano's own experiences, the reader uncovers just how massive a role religion played in the part of his Narrative and in that of his own life. More specifically, we learn of how his religious conversion meant a type of freedom as momentous as his own independence from slavery. As one reads
Equiano was able to utilize his life experiences and expose the true story behind a slaves journey (from the capturing to the day the slave is placed with an owner), which allowed him to be an influential opponent against the enslavement of Africans. Equiano stated that, “[t]ourtures, murder, and every other imaginable barbarity and iniquity are practiced
If it were not for the stories past down from generation to generation or the documentations in historical books, the history of the twelve million African slaves that traveled the “Middle Passage” in miserable conditions would not exist. Olaudah Equiano contributes to this horrid history with The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Through this narrative, the appalling personal experience of each slave is depicted. He accomplishes his rhetorical purpose of informing the world of the slave experience in this narrative. His use of unique style and rhetorical devices in this conveying narrative portray his imperative rhetorical purpose.
Another detail that Equiano incorporated within his writing, is the meaning of his name. As he says in the text “I was named Olaudah, which, in our language, signifies vicissitude or fortune also, one favoured, and having a loud voice and well spoken” (Gates Jr. & Smith 121). Equiano was a man who was the youngest born son to village leaders who owned slaves, became a captive of slavery himself, briefly worked in the fields as a slave before following his master overseas and ultimately buying his own freedom. What’s most profound throughout that, is the fact that he used his voice to help others who are stuck where he was able to break free. PBS has an article where
Equiano is then sold to another master, a wealthy widow who had a son. Equiano then states, “The next day I was washed and perfumed, and when mealtime came, I was led into the presence of my mistress, and ate and drank before her and her son. This filled me with astonishment; and I could scarcely avoid expressing my surprise that the young gentlemen should suffer me, who was bound, to eat with him who was free; and not only so, but that he would not at any time either eat or drink till I had taken first, because I was the eldest, which was agreeable to our custom.” (Equiano 29) Up to this point, Equiano had it comparatively easy when compared to the experiences of others who had been enslaved. As The Slave Ship illustrated for us,
Equiano’s luck soon shifted when he was once again kidnapped and sold as a slave, this time he would have to endure the notoriously dreadful journey across the sea to America. Knowing that this was a pivotal point in his life and that he would become a gudgeon to the harshness of slavery, Equiano attempted to prepare himself for what lay ahead. However, the sight of the inhumane acts he witnessed on the African coast, while being transported, were new to Equiano and instilled fear into his consciousness.
In 1745, Olaudah Equiano was born in Eboe, which is now Nigeria. When he was about eleven years old, he was kidnapped and sold to slave traders heading to the West Indies. Though he spent a short time in the state of Virginia, much of his time in slavery was spent serving the captains of slave ships and British navy vessels. One of his masters, Henry Pascal, the captain of a British trading vessel, gave him the name Gustavas Vassa, which he hardly used throughout his life. Paul Lovejoy, Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History stated:
History shows that both Africans and African Americans alike faced unique problems prior to and during the 1800's, particularly prior to 1865. One such problem is the issue of Diaspora and how culture and slavery has affected the choice of religion. It is the purpose of this paper to expose comparatively the extent to which individuals have been influenced by these issues. One such individual is Olaudah Equiano. By following and analyzing some of the key moments of faith in his life, this paper seeks to expose the extent to which the series of controversial dialectical incidents that happen throughout his early life, i.e., his cultural African religious traditions
i think Equiano is very successful at making readers aware of the injustice the slaves endured. 1 example from the text is from paragraph 6 "the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated". The second example is from paragraph 4, "on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across i think the wind;ass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely." Each passage reflects his purpose of writing this story because in each paragraph he's explaining his experiences and the feelings he had, like in paragraph 4 he says "I now wished for my last friend, death, to relieve me." The events being narrated is for the readers to have a visual of what the writer experienced.