The Narrative Of The Life Of Olandah Equiano

1716 WordsApr 28, 20177 Pages
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olandah Equiano provides a view of Africa and the rest of the world from the perspective of either an African taken into slavery early in his life or a slave of African descent born in the British colonies. Olandah Equiano’s narrative reveals more about the African Diaspora than it does African history itself, particularly with his birthplace called into question. If he was born in Africa as he claims, Equiano’s narrative provides a primary source for the history of the slave trade in Africa and Nigerian history. If he was born in South Carolina, his narrative provides a secondary source for these areas. In either case, Equiano’s narrative accurately reveals the horrors of the Atlantic Slave…show more content…
In addition, by writing and publishing a book in English, claiming to be born in Africa helped Equiano dispel the argument from defenders of the slave trade that Africans were unable to do such things and thus eliminated the idea that taking them to the Western Hemisphere helped them. Consequently, it was to Equiano’s benefit and to the benefit of his goals to claim an African birth. Carretta is sure that Equiano heavily edited some of the events in his narrative to fit his own goals.” He points out that South Carolina avoided importing slaves from the Bight of Biafra, where Equiano claims he left Africa, thus making it unlikely that Equiano would have claimed he was born in South Carolina unless it was the truth. Because Equiano claimed that he arrived in Virginia in his narrative, it makes more sense for him to claim he was born in Virginia if he lied about his birthplace at all later in his life. Carretta also cites several examples of documents which “enable us to correct the chronology of the author’s early years in slavery and raise the possibility that he altered events in his early life for rhetorical purposes.” He also points out that Equiano had no reason to lie about his birthplace before 1788, but documents from years earlier, such as his baptismal record and muster lists, record Equiano’s birthplace as South Carolina. He must have been telling the truth in these records because he had no reason to lie. Equiano thus changed his birthplace

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