The Transatlantic Slave Trade And The Lives Of African Slave Essay

The Transatlantic Slave Trade And The Lives Of African Slave Essay

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Often in history classes, the discussion of the transatlantic slave trade and the lives of African slave conjures an image of someone working in a plantation to eventually die of mistreatment and hard labor. On the other hand, Olaudah Equiano’s “Interesting Narrative and Other Writings” depicts an autobiographical story that ends in an unexpected way from how history often depicted it. Throughout the autobiography, Equiano praises and celebrates certain parts of British culture that he idealized to the point of obsessed with it, but there are certain cultural practices and attitudes, particularly those from the Caribbean and Georgia in regards to slavery, that he detests and speaks out against.
During the beginning of his service to Captain Pascal, Equiano resided in England where he developed his own ideal view of British culture and the people who lived in England. Upon arriving, he expressed, “I was very struck with the buildings and the pavement of the streets in Falmouth, and indeed, any object I saw filled me with new surprise” (67), which is his first experience of British culture and the people. Eventually, the introduction of Christianity in his life greatly influences his view on British culture in a positive light and he is baptized into the Anglican religion. Also, he was introduced to the concept of literacy in England which he developed a thirst to learn it. Once he adapted to life in England, he remarked:
I now only felt myself quite easy with these new countrymen, but relished in their society and manners. I no longer looked upon them as spirits, but as men superior to us; and therefore I had the stronger desire to resemble them; to imbibe their spirit, and imitate their manners (77-78).
In this quote, it shows tha...


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...ion of it to defeat its success” (229), meaning it was a great idea, but horrible execution on the government’s part. Afterwards, he promotes abolition to the Queen which he suggested that if Britain abolished slavery, then the British economy would prosper and “the native inhabitants [of Africa] would insensibly adopt the British fashions, manners, customs, &c” (233). Here, he promoted British economic interests and assumed that Africans would adopt what he thought was the better culture.
Therefore, Equiano celebrates an idealistic image of British culture that he witnessed early on in his life such as religion, literacy and manners, however, he detested the methods and attitudes in regards to the treatment of African slaves. By writing down his story down, he not only reached the prestige he tried to emulate, but he, also, depicted why slavery should have stopped.

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