Within the 17th century time period, the many slaves that were captured and forced to succumb to the enduring and arduous labor in plantations, often times integrated into European culture. However, Olaudah Equiano not only adopted European lifestyles, but fully embraced himself in this new found culture, essentially abandoning his values that he inherited from his African origin. Equiano’s newly found passion for the European religion allowed Equiano to become a different man, one who accomplished the almost impossible for a slave, freedom. His motivation, God, allowed himself to strive to accomplish more with his life, but at what cost? Consequently, at times it seemed as if religion blinded Equiano from seeking justice for his fellow slaves. Although an effort was implemented, Equiano still failed to convince the Queen of abolishing the slave trade. Ultimately, Equiano’s journey through cultural assimilation lead him to overpower and drown out his roots and at times showed his hypocrisy, when partaking in the commerce of the slave trade.
In Olaudah Equiano’s life there were three ways a person became a slave. Either by one 's tribe losing a battle against another, and being forced to serve them, committing a horrendous crime, or being abducted by kidnappers, and purely sold for weaponry or money. Equiano’s journey through his life as a slave, started as just that, by being kidnapped. At a young age Equiano
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.
Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) was kidnapped from his African village at the age of eleven, shipped through the arduous "Middle Passage" of the Atlantic Ocean, seasoned in the West Indies and sold to a Virginia planter. He was later bought by a British naval Officer, Captain Pascal, as a present for his cousins in London. After ten years of enslavement throughout the North American continent, where he assisted his merchant slave master and worked as a seaman, Equiano bought his freedom. At the age of forty four he wrote and published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African. Written by Himself, which he registered at Stationer's Hall, London, in 1789. More than two
"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
Throughout the book The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano tries to say that he is just an ordinary person, but this cannot be the case. He survives several ship wrecks, learns to read and write, and is able to buy his freedom. This is far from ordinary and borderlines with extraordinary. As he describes his adventures he starts by telling you a depressing story of how his sister got separated from him. This sets up the reader to know that there is plenty more tragedy to come. This is when he gets thrown into a life of slavery. From there he tries to wiggle his way out from the life of a slave and to create his own. Equiano uses anecdotes that he has experienced to prove to his readers that slavery is cruel and unforgiving, such as the time when he was being transported, to the treatment under his masters, and finally even when he was a free man.
Olaudah Equiano was taken into slavery and was able to learn how to gain his freedom. He was given the education and guidance to write a narrative of his life and adventure through slavery. The education that he received from one the families he worked for became a very important tool that saved his life. Equiano was faced with many difficulties and was able to achieve his freedom. However, he was able to use his knowledge and desire to learn new things to buy his freedom from all of his owners. Equiano was very strong in his beliefs, not religion, but what he was taught by his family. The narrative was Equiano’s way of telling the people about his life and what he went through as a slave. His narrative was read by many others who wrote reviews about the manner in which he wrote his narrative. There are also commentaries from different writers. The writers were from different backgrounds many different beliefs.
Olaudah Equiano, the author of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was captured in Africa and sold into slavery. Later in life, he purchased his freedom and wrote his autobiography in 1789. Equiano experienced hardships beyond imaging in his years as a slave and oftentimes witnessed extensive cruelty by whites towards Africans. Equiano 's experience of the Atlantic slave trade and middle passage as we understand it today was typical of a regular captive. The Atlantic slave trade, more specifically the experience that Equiano had was horrific. The Atlantic slave trade stands as one of the greatest mistreatments towards other humans to have ever happened, for nearly 400 years this occurred. Equiano 's experience however
The Life of Olaudah Equiano focuses on the various scenes to which Equiano or otherwise known as Gustavus Vassa was a witness too. Equiano’s story allows for an in depth perspective of slave trade and the way it functioned. Equiano takes the reader upon his journey as an African Slave beginning with his experiences in his native village, his numerous amounts of masters, cruelties and oppressions across the globe, and all the way to his success as a freeman. Equiano strongly focuses on the fact that almost every event in his life made an impression on his mind and influenced his conduct. Hence, making sense of the importance of his status and growth despite of his roots. Equiano always remained aware of his race and culture however he was in search of a freedom that no matter whom he was told to be his identity of obtaining this as well as soon gaining control of his own life always remained the same.
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
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, is a personal autobiography of himself, Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, documenting the hardships of slavery throughout his lifetime. Equiano writes one of the best primary sources from a slave’s perspective and master’s perspective during slavery. Equiano does not hold back on the horrors of what traveling as a slave from West Indies to North America was really like. Olaudah Equiano shares his heart wrenching journey through the brutality of slavery experienced at such young age to him mastering economics and being able to free himself from slavery. Freedom and salvation are reoccurring parallel themes throughout this autobiography. Although Equiano’s story has been questioned
450). This prompted for Equiano to be enslaved by many slave owners as such things were being exchanged between rival tribes and parties of raiders. In addition to this, Equiano was being sold countless times and one day ended up on board in the sea on a slave ship. As a result, Equiano is more hopeless than he was before as he endures the abuse and hardships that went on in the ship towards those who were black as the Whites were the ones in charge of the ship. Eventually, after much despair, Equiano was able to buy his freedom through one of the owners he had who was, as he put it, the nicest.
Equiano, on a slave ship towards the West Indies, was on the verge of everlasting bondage. “In this manner we continued to undergo more hardships than I can now relate, hardships which are inseparable from this accursed trade. Many a time we were near suffocation from the want of fresh air, which was often without for whole days together.” (57) The conditions for slaves on these transport ships was horrendous, as those in charge cared little for the well being of these Africans. Equiano was unaware of what was to come, and fear lingered in his memory of this unforgiving experience. He explains the process of the transaction, “We were not many days in the merchant’s custody, before we were sold after their usual manner, which was: On a signal given (as the beat of a drum), the buyers rush at once into the yard where the slaves are confined, and make choice of that parcel they like best.” (58)
Olaudah Equiano was a slave at the age of 11 in the West Indies. He was enslaved to a captain in the Royal Navy and a Quaker merchant. He witnessed slavery in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Arctic. Olaudah Equiano paicipated in the movement to abolish the slave trade. He wrote and published his own narrative of his life. The interpretation of his memoir should not be affected by his birthplace. His travels throughout the world makes him a witness to the Slave trade.
The narrative by Olaudah Equiano gives an interesting perspective of slavery both within and outside of Africa in the eighteenth century. From these writings we can gain insight into the religion and customs of an African culture. We can also see how developed the system of trade was within Africa, and worldwide by this time. Finally, we hear an insider's view on being enslaved, how slaves were treated in Africa, and what the treatment of African slaves was like at the hands of the Europeans.