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
"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
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 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.
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
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.
In Olaudah Equiano narrative discusses the many obstacles, struggles which he has to overcome for his path to freedom. Equiano had many difficult problems in his life which many people have taken a special role in. I will discuss about the countless people that had both positive and negative impact in Equiano’s life. Equiano’s life was not an easy one, I will argue despite the many obstacles that came across his life he always remained strong which is why he was able to gain his freedom. I will discuss the major transitions that were made in in his. The unexpected journeys that came in his life and changed it entirely.
The slave trade, yet horrific in it’s inhumanity, became an important aspect of the world’s economy during the eighteenth century. During a time when thousands of Africans were being traded for currency, Olaudah Equiano became one of countless children kidnapped and sold on the black market as a slave. Slavery existed centuries before the birth of Equiano (1745), but strengthened drastically due to an increasing demand for labor in the developing western hemisphere, especially in the Caribbean and Carolinas. Through illogical justification, slave trading became a powerful facet of commerce, regardless of its deliberate mistreatment of human beings by other human beings. Olaudah Equiano was able to overcome this intense
Slavery for many was a time of despair and anguish, it felt like hell not only by the heat of the sun, but, by the treatment many received from their owners as well. Despite written almost 100 years apart, two of the most famous and well known slave narratives that give the modern day reader just an idea of what slavery was like are, Aphra Behn’s “Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave” and Olaudah Equiano’s “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano”. The journey of these two young men, although in many ways are similar, from a larger perspective could not be more different. For Oroonoko a somewhat established young man who comes from royalty, optimizes what it means to be a noble savage. As for a young Equiano who seems to spend most of his childhood in slavery, must find a way to overcome the hand he has been dealt and work hard to earn his freedom. Throughout both of these stories there are similarities and there are differences as well. Some of the most interesting aspects that might stand out to the reader are, the aspect of slavery and or the lack of it, suicide and how both characters go about it in their own way and points of view and how the reader is influenced by it.
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
The story of Equiano was a very interesting look into the life of a slave. This narrative was particularly interesting because he told his story all the way from the beginning. The reader gets to follow his journey from when he was a small boy who is kidnapped all the way up to adulthood. I don’t think anyone can really imagine what his life must have been like during these events. He does paint a picture of the harshness and how scary many things he encountered were for him. Being a young child with no one to turn to thrust into the world of a rough and harrowing sea voyage is horrible, but add the cruelty and the inhuman conditions that the slaves were faced with and the narrative becomes a down right atrocity. It is amazing to me that
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.