Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Middle Passage was almost inconceivable. Hundreds upon hundreds of Africans were abducted from their homes to go on boats to America. They were stacked like books on shelves in order to bring enough Negros for a profitable slave trade. The life on the boats on the way to the New World was so bad that the Africans preferred death to their gruesome future.
The conditions on the boats were hellish. The slaves on the ships were packed like sardines and chained together. Among the gripping words that Olaudah Equiano, a slave abducted when he was just eleven years old, used to describe the Middle passage are hopeless, low, brutal, and wretched. The temperature in the disease- infested rooms was inconceivable. There was no fresh air for the Negro inhabitants. The feeling of shock and isolation only added to the sorrow and horror of the situation. Alexander Falconbridge, a surgeon aboard these slave ships, recalled that the "hot floor was covered with blood and mucus. It was like a slaughter-house." The sickening stench was great due to the loathsome filth from the pestilential heat. As Olaudah Equiano said, "sleep was the only [temporary] refuge." The dejection and despair of the circumstances caused many people to bitterly cry, shriek, and groan in inconceivable horror and fear. The savage cruelty of the slave traders and boat crew was terrifying. The Negros were deprived of food and health treatments, and due to the crammed conditions this caused great waves of sickness and disease. These ships created an absolute hellish existence for the abandoned Africans aboard them. Although describable, the anguish of these people cannot be fully understood.
The African's, due to these excruciating conditions, were completely and utterly terrified. During the slave trades, the noise and clamor was so frightening that many slaves attempted at running away in the tumult. On the boats, many people tried to jump overboard. Attempted suicide usually just increased the despair of the situation. Negros were punished for any attempt at escape or purposeful personal harm. If one did not eat, they were flogged until they ate the disgusting food.
The slave traders expressed brutal cruelty to the slaves aboard the ships. They treated the Negros as if they were imported typical goods. They spent the least amount of effort and money in making the conditions aboard the boats tolerable in order to ensure a higher profitable outcome.
How to Cite this Page
"Slave Narratives." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- It was once thought that slavery was just a normal civilized part of life, whether you owned a slave or were one, that’s just how it was. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, slavery was a well know topic, and slave narratives such as the ones by Rowlandson and Equiano were becoming quite popular. Slave narratives such as these assisted in revealing the horrors of slavery. Both these slave narratives have similar traits that helped people around the world better understand the perils of slavery.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
1529 words (4.4 pages)
- The Harlem Renaissance began around the 1920’s and was the hub of African American artistic endeavors, with less discrimination, more freedom, and amazing strides in politics and economics which was very different from how the slaves lived and hoped, but there still were similarities like a will for a better life, and hope for the future which both embraced even though they were in a dreadful position. Of course there also are differences, in this case that Harlem writers and artist were more educated and saw education as a stair way towards progress and equality, where the slave authors didn’t have education and didn’t care about it, the second difference is their purpose and their audience... [tags: Analysis, Informative]
1438 words (4.1 pages)
- Slave narratives depicted a lot of dehumanizing aspects. More times than not slaves felt like property and not real human beings. In these true stories slaves write about how their treatment lead to the breaking of their spirit and motivation. There were plenty examples of harsh working conditions. It was demeaning for the slaves to be deprived of learning and knowledge. In regards to women who were slaves they had to endure a lot of sexual abuse from their masters. The slave owners would also give slaves false illusions on what freedom really meant.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]
1708 words (4.9 pages)
- The Significance of the Slave Narratives The slave narratives also known as freedom or liberation narratives, are stories about the enslaved people. The slave narratives displayed many of the experiences those people went through from growing up as a slave or even being transported to America through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Often times the stories would be of how they went from slavery in the south to freedom in the north. These stories had many characteristics and they appealed to many different audiences.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
1364 words (3.9 pages)
- From the period of Antebellum America up into the present time, many documents and pieces of work have been published regarding the abolition of slavery and slavery in general. Regarding the abolition of slavery, slave narratives were one of the ways to get readers first hand look at accounts of slavery and in turn were a big part of abolitionist movements. In class we have read three of the great slave narratives and there are abolitionist themes that can be traces through all three of them. These themes argued against slavery and were used to persuade their readers to support the abolition of slavery.... [tags: American History, Slavery]
1809 words (5.2 pages)
- Slave narratives were extremely important in gathering the support of the white northerners for the abolition of slavery. Former slaves such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and many others gave speeches, published pamphlets, and wrote autobiographies depicting the horrific conditions under which they lived as slaves. The detailed stories of the living conditions and atrocities suffered by these former slaves helped gain support for the anti-slavery movement. Not everyone living in the North condoned slavery and even some of those living in the South were influenced by the stories told by former slaves as well as what they witnessed themselves firsthand.... [tags: Slavery in the United States, Abolitionism]
1288 words (3.7 pages)
- Haunting in American Slave Narratives Both Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depict enslaved women hidden in attics or garrets in pursuit of freedom. These gothic allusions of people haunting or watching over either the town or the plantation are meant to suggest, among other things, a secret minority witness to the life of the slave society. Both stories portray their quests for autonomy in similar and also very different ways.... [tags: Stowe Jacobs Slave Narrative]
1518 words (4.3 pages)
- The slave narratives of the ante-bellum time period have come across numerous types of themes. Much of the work concentrates on the underlining ideas beneath the stories. In the narratives, fugitives and ex-slaves appealed to the humanity they shared with their readers during these times, men being lynched and marked all over and women being the subject of grueling rapes. "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas" and "Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" themes come from the existence of the slaves morality that they are forced compromise to live.... [tags: Thematic Analysis, Discrimination]
869 words (2.5 pages)
- Slave Narratives The Classic Slave Narratives give a fascinating, not to mention horrifying, account of the lives of four different slaves: Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Fredrick Douglass, and Linda Brent. These slave narratives tell of four African Americans, who went through very troubling times. The lives of these slaves are all similar in one way or another, but are also very different and unique. These accounts help people to realize what the slaves went through, and how hard life actually was for them.... [tags: American History Slavery Comparison]
1717 words (4.9 pages)
- Slave Narratives The Middle Passage was almost inconceivable. Hundreds upon hundreds of Africans were abducted from their homes to go on boats to America. They were stacked like books on shelves in order to bring enough Negros for a profitable slave trade. The life on the boats on the way to the New World was so bad that the Africans preferred death to their gruesome future. The conditions on the boats were hellish. The slaves on the ships were packed like sardines and chained together. Among the gripping words that Olaudah Equiano, a slave abducted when he was just eleven years old, used to describe the Middle passage are hopeless, low, brutal, and wretched.... [tags: American America History]
796 words (2.3 pages)
The Africans felt complete shock and isolation at the harsh brutality of their slave traders. They were utterly paralyzed at what was going on around them. They had no control and were therefore completely terrified. They felt hopeless and despaired. They felt extremely isolated and abandoned. The thoughts always led to back home, when life used to be happy. Their attitudes were not optimistic. The future was unknown. Few had any actions of rebellion towards the slave traders. Amistad, one of the ships that was used to haul this "cargo" to America, was taken over through mutiny by the Africans on board. However, most Negros on the ships were too terrified and shocked to rebel.
Once arriving in the New World, things began to get better, relatively. They were still horrible wretched, but there was still a little bit of hope. Olaudah Equiano felt optimism when he heard that once he got to America, he could work. Working, to him, was much better than the pestilential conditions aboard these ships of the Middle Passage. There were bitter cries at the unknown future; some thought that they would be used as food for the cannibals aboard the New World. However, in order to inspire hope, the slave traders let slaves from land come aboard and tell the Negros that they would be able to work and would see their country's people. The selling of slaves was absolutely miserable. There was clamor and noise that was utterly terrifying. Families were broken up and Africans were crying.
It is impossible to imagine these experiences and conditions accurately. Without being there, one cannot truly empathize with the "cargo" aboard the ships in the Middle Passage. The hellish existence of these passengers is inconceivable. Since that time there have been few incidents as horrible, brutal, and full of despair.