In, conclusion the experiences of Equiano’s servitude in Africa differed from his experience in England. The African slave trade primarily was based upon providing jobs to families or punishment to real criminals. Many times the cruel example of being kidnapped from your village and forced into this way of life was also prevalent. This narrative contains the terrifying events of a young a child being held captive. The sources we have of the truth from this period of time are limited and hard to obtain. Servitude still exists to today in many parts of Africa and will remain a common part of their
Slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries consisted of brutal and completely unjust treatment of African-Americans. Africans were pulled from their families and forced to work for cruel masters under horrendous conditions, oceans away from their homes. While it cannot be denied that slavery everywhere was horrible, the conditions varied greatly and some slaves lived a much more tolerable life than others. Examples of these life styles are vividly depicted in the personal narratives of Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince. The diversity of slave treatment and conditions was dependent on many different factors that affected a slave’s future. Mary Prince and Olaudah Equiano both faced similar challenges, but their conditions and life styles
The notion of slavery, as unpleasant as it is, must nonetheless be examined to understand the hardships that were caused in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. Without a doubt, conditions that the slaves lived under could be easily described as intolerable and inhumane. As painful as the slave's treatment by the masters was, it proved to be more unbearable for the women who were enslaved. Why did the women suffer a grimmer fate as slaves? The answer lies in the readings, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative which both imply that sexual abuse, jealous mistresses', and loss of children caused the female slaves to endure a more dreadful and hard life in captivity.
Equiano begins his autobiography with his experiences of slavery at a young age in his village and on the middle passage. For example, in chapter 1 Equiano reveals that his village also had slaves, who became as such by being a prisoner of war, as a punishment for adultery, or being kidnapped. There was no systematic slavery and the slaves from this village were treated as human beings rather than as property. Equiano claims their treatment of slaves was not nearly as terrible compared to the slavery of the New World. Based on this insight, Africans were not new to the idea of slavery, but were shocked at how horribly different they were treated. Despite this insight, there is a limitation because Equiano wrote his autobiography as an older man, meaning that his childhood memories were not easily recollected. In addition, in chapter 2 Equiano was kidnapped and made his way to the coast and aboard a slave ship. Equiano felt astonished and scared in the new situation he was in with the strange men. Below the decks, he saw the dejection and sorrow on the faces of other slaves. However, the slaves tried their best ...
“As I stare through the floor of an unknown vessel into an everlasting sea of clouds I ponder on what I had did to be in this situation or would I ever reunite with my family or will the gentleman beside me make it through the night.” The realization that slavery caused many families, lives, and individuals to be destroyed is gruesome. Through the memoir of Olaudah Equiano, the first-person accounts of the treatment of enslaved and free Africans is revealed, which helps him in the battle against African enslavement.
In Equiano lifetime, historical events are presented throughout the narration. The African slave trade also known as the Atlantic slave trade is essentially the foundation and what brings hardship into his life. African men, women and children are taken from their native home and put on the market as slaves to be sold in the Caribbean, America and Europe (Skabelund) .He also makes several references to Barbados, as being one of the worst places for Africans to go (Equiano). The economy during the 18th century became prosperous because of the slave trade. Africans underwent poor living conditions and cruel punishment. In the Chapter 2, Equiano speaks about his experience while being transported. He states that under the ship deck, the stench
Equiano was the youngest of his brothers who enjoyed playing outside throwing javelins enjoying the normal life of a small child. At the beginning of the day, the elders would leave their children at home while they went out into the fields to work. While they were gone, some of the children would get together to play but always took precautions of potential kidnappers. Even with all these precautions, people were still seized from their homes and taken away. Equiano was home one day with his little sister tending to the everyday household needs when out of nowhere they were captured by a couple men who had gotten over the walls. They had no time to resist or scream for help before they found themselves bound, gagged, and being taken away. Equiano had no idea where these people were taking him and they didn’t stop once until nightfall where they stayed until dawn. He tells us about how they traveled for many days and nights not having any clue where they were going or when they would get there. Slaves traveled by land and by sea, but Equiano’s journey was by sea. He tells us how he was carried aboard and immediately chained to other African Americans that were already on the ship. Once the ship halted on land, Equiano along with many other slaves were sent to the merchant’s yard where they would be herded together and bought by the
Kupperman, Karen O. (2000). Olaudah Equiano Recalls His Enslavement, 1750s. Major Problems in American Colonial History (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 292.
I will begin with a comparison of the two books, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” and “Harriett Ann Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” with their title pages. Douglass’s title is announcing that his entire “life” as an “American Slave” will be examined. While, Jacobs’s title offers a contrast and proclaims that this will not be the story of her full life, but a selection of “incidents” that occurred at specific times in her life. Jacobs refers to herself in the title as a “slave girl,” and not an “American slave,”. It is the voice of a woman telling the story of having survived a horrifying childhood and identifies herself as a slave mother. Douglass’ and Jacobs’ works symbolize the pressure between
In light of recent documentation, Olaudah Equiano’s birthplace is likely South Carolina. A 1759 baptismal record from St. Margaret’s Church in London and a 1773 ship’s muster record from an Arctic expedition of Sir John Phipps, related to Olaudah Equiano, were both discovered by Carretta. In both documents, Equiano’s birthplace was clearly stated as South Carolina. This was certainly not the place of birth the author had stated in his autobiography. Carretta points out, “The naval record was the real problem to me, because at that point he’s free, he’s an adult. The pursers went and simply asked, ‘What’s your name? Where are you from?” (qtd. in Howard A11-A15). The author of the autobiogra...
In a very powerful portion of this writing, Equiano speaks directly to his audience in an attempt to open their eyes to slavery and the pain it causes. He uses pathos appeals to make them understand the pain and suffering brought on by the destruction of families and separation of countrymen. Every rhetorical question he asks makes a powerful statement which he summarizes to the point that, “Surely this is a new refinement in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery” (Equiano 96). He forces his audience to question their own motives for slavery and calls to attention that there is no logic in tearing families apart for one’s personal
Equiano has a firsthand account on the effects of slavery and the necessity of freedom. While describing a childhood that was ended quickly by being snatched and placed into slavery, his story is a reflection of one within many stories that are no doubt similar in fashion. The most memorable, and possibly disturbing narration involves his experiences within the slave ship.
Equiano’s fortune landed him in the hands of a wealthy widow who purchased him from the traders who had kidnapped him. He lived the life as a companion to the widow and her son. Luck was on his side in this transaction, many slave owners frowned upon educating and assisting slaves. “Masters” typically feared an educated slave would take measures to make a change. He explains, though, how he held status above other slave under the widow’s ownership, “There were likewise slaves daily to attend us, while my young master and I,...
The book The Classic Slave Narratives is a collection of narratives that includes the historical enslavement experiences in the lives of the former slaves Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, and Olaudah Equiano. They all find ways to advocate for themselves to protect them from some of the horrors of slavery, such as sexual abuse, verbal abuse, imprisonment, beatings, torturing, killings and the nonexistence of civil rights as Americans or rights as human beings. Also, their keen wit and intelligence leads them to their freedom from slavery, and their fight for freedom and justice for all oppressed people.
In comparison to other slaves that are discussed over time, Olaudah Equiano truly does lead an ‘interesting’ life. While his time as a slave was very poor there are certainly other slaves that he mentions that received far more damaging treatment than he did. In turn this inspires him to fight for the abolishment of slavery. By pointing out both negative and positive events that occurred, the treatment he received from all of his masters, the impact that religion had on his life and how abolishing slavery could benefit the future of everyone as a whole; Equiano develops a compelling argument that does help aid the battle against slavery. For Olaudah Equiano’s life journey expressed an array of cruelties that came with living the life of an