Olaudah Equiano's the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself

1119 Words Feb 14th, 2013 5 Pages
Olaudah Equiano 's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, is the story of the eponymous real-life character, Olaudah Equiano, his life, trials, tribulations and journey from slavery at an early age to freedom. For Equiano, it seems that slavery is almost a metaphysical phenomenon. His entire life is essentially characterized by the different experiences relating slavery, from Africa to the Middle Passage to plantation life in the West Indies and United States. Equiano’s views on slavery are tough to articulate and truly complex. Throughout the novel he makes reference to different ‘degrees of slavery,’ at times condemning the practice, and at other times contradicting …show more content…
He details being shocked and hurt to the point where he tries to wash the color of his skin off his face.
While travelling the seas with Pascal, Equiano has many more encounters in and with Britain. With more and more exposure to Christianity and European culture, he details that he was no longer frightened and apprehensive towards it, beginning to show confluence of African and European cultures. He was eventually sent to school in Britain, educated and shortly after, baptized. It is worth noting that later in the novel he often relates his new religious standpoint to his enslavement. While becoming a Christian himself, whether or not he holds responsible God, himself, or the hypocritical Christian Europeans for his enslavement is left ambiguous.
Ultimately, (and after brief stints of being purchased by other masters) Equiano is sold to Robert King. Educated and under the direction of a master treating him relatively fair, Equiano here observes another facet of slavery. He is further educated and directed along the path of Christianity, which I believe further adds more conflicting emotion, due to it being comparable to his original notion of slavery from his childhood. While working for King on shipping routes, he determines himself to save some money on the side, in order to buy his freedom from King. Interesting to note though, in the novel he explicitly states that he would like to return to Old England, not Africa. While I think this is
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