The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the …

How is Equiano able to conjure the horrors of slavery? Be specific with details.
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The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano.

The  section for The Life of Olaudah Equiano is a greatresource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
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Olaudah Equiano: An Illustrated Biography - Brycchan …

Upon his return from the Arctic, Equiano became a vocal abolitionist, lecturing throughout Great Britain, and finally publishing his biographical narrative.

Upon reaching the Atlantic coase, Equiano encountered white men for the first time and the journey to the New World on a slave ship.
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Equiano paints a very positive portrait of the Eboe people of whom he claims to be descended. He calls attention to their morals and their simple, unassuming manners. They only enslaved criminals or prisoners of war. They had strict gender roles that created social order. Their government was a council that decided things in a democratic fashion. The arts and music were important to them. Luxuries and decadence were eschewed. The most conspicuous trait of these Africans was their emphasis on cleanliness. This lifestyle produced healthy and hearty individuals, and "cheerfulness and affability are two of the leading characteristics of our nation" (38). They even believed in one Creator, although they countenanced the spirit world more than Europeans did. Equiano is also keen to compare them to the Jews, thus 'legitimizing' them in the eyes of his European readers. Indeed, these Europeans are whom Equiano is subtly contrasting his African brethren with; after comparing the heroic and moral Eboe with the bloodthirsty and power-hungry Europeans, it is no question which of the two is actually more civilized.

What evidence does Equiano provide to support his claim that free blacks had more difficulties than slaves did?
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Although Equiano’s pages on the middle ..

After completing Equiano's autobiography, the reader has an understanding of the mind, character, and abilities of the former slave. His narrative voice is strong and articulate; his prose is lucid. Except for a few rhetorical flourishes, it is straightforward and allows the work to flow easily. He comes across as a highly intelligent and thoughtful man, albeit a rather emotional one. He is prone to explaining his state of mind just as often as the state of affairs, giving readers a very personal insight into how he was affected by his trials. He expresses righteous indignation on multiple occasions, which reveals his passion. It was this quality that made him an effective abolitionist later in life. He experiences religion in a very personal, intimate way, and seems to verge on the dramatic in regard to this aspect of his life. For example, when he is onboard a ship where the men blaspheme and carouse, he nearly commits suicide in his despair. He also shows a touch of hubris, tending to inflate the importance of his actions, and to fashion episodes in the book around his own heroic deeds and character. He also comes across as a man who must mediate between the binaries of his existence: slave/free, British/African, object/subject. By the end of the work, it appears that he has done just that - he is assured in an identity that is fully his own, and not beholden to any particular creed.

Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) - Georgetown University

Equiano's Narrative is one of the best primary sources for what slavery was like for both slave and master. He does not shy away from cataloging the horrors of the "peculiar institution," starting with his own kidnapping, and his severance from his family. He details the terrible conditions of the Middle Passage, dwelling on the loathsome smells, mournful cries, and fetid climate of the ship's hull. He describes how many slaves tried to throw themselves into the ocean, but were prevented from doing so by the crew and then beaten mercilessly. In Virgina, Equiano meets an elderly slave woman who actually had to wear an iron muzzle on her face. In the West Indies, he saw how women were raped, and how pregnant women were treated callously. Slaves were beaten for nonexistent reasons, never knowing when their overseer might take offense to their behavior. They were forced to build their huts on unhealthy land, and contracted diseases. Their property was taken from them. They could be sold at a moment's notice and thus be deprived of friends and family. They were kept in ignorance, and only exposed to vice and depravity; thus, their own minds and consciences were adversely molded by the slave system. What defines his work as much as anything is the detail he uses in depicting slavery.

Olaudah Equiano and abolition | Revealing Histories

Equiano is a Briton and an African, and has a particularly complicated relationship with his adopted country, which had been responsible for his enslavement. He condemns Britons by calling attention to their complicity in the slave trade. He details: the cruel slave traders on the Middle Passage; the laxity and perversion of Christianity; the terrible conditions for slaves in the West Indies; the destruction of virtue and morality; and, of course, the fact that one as intelligent and heroic as himself had languished in bondage. This was all meant to strike the consciences of his readers. However, he also praises British society, and adopted its religion, manners, morals, and customs. In the last chapter, he lauds the country for liberty, dignity, and nobility. He praises the British government, hoping they will agree to abolish the slave trade. If this were to happen, the Africans, rather than ignore their former oppressors, would be quick to "adopt the British fashions, manners, customs, &c" and would readily trade with the empire (233). Since he is effectively a Briton himself and expects his Narrative to be influential in securing abolition, it is no surprise that he expresses acclaim for the British government and people. However, it appears that he honestly admires his adopted country, and that his love for it reflects his complicated character.