Equiano Slave Narratives Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1278 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


For example, in Chapter IX of the narrative, Equiano encounters some Mosquito Indian chiefs. The author notices that they "were brought here by some English traders for some selfish ends." Equiano also sees that slavery is practiced in different ways in different places, and that some types of slavery are particularly cruel. For example, the slavery he experienced in Virginia involved methods that he had not before encountered; what he witnesses in the West Indies such as Jamaica was also disturbing. However, in the West Indies, Equiano learns a little more about farming and from the Mosquito Indians he learns how to make a potent alcoholic beverage made from roasted pineapples. Equiano also witnesses the various ways creative entrepreneurs make their money, which influences him later as he sells wares on board ships to earn himself money. Equiano does make some money, but he unsuccessfully tries to buy himself his freedom.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Although Equiano learned the skills of navigation and general seafaring, it would be his social and communication skills that helped him to eventually earn his freedom. Equiano interacts with people diverse enough to offer him a worldview that enables him to eventually contemplate freedom. His Christian worldview becomes a skill set that enables him to communicate with people as diverse as the Native Indians and the Spaniards. His ability to speak about scripture also causes Equiano to fight for his freedom using rhetoric. In fact, Equiano talks himself into freedom on several situations but finds that he was never truly free because the white man could repossess him at will due to his being black. For example, Equiano talks to a doctor on the Mosquito Coast and asks to leave the "heathens." The doctor assents, and agrees that Equiano can return to England. He believes he will be returning, but one Spanish sailor discovers that he is "free," and forces him aboard a ship. Similarly, Equiano's entrepreneurial activities were supposed to give him his freedom, and even money could not work in his favor. Furthermore, Equiano mistakenly places his trust in Pascal because their relationship seemed to be strong and almost like a friendship. Pascal betrays Equiano, a lesson that helps him develop stronger skills that enable his ultimate passage back to England and genuine manumission.

Equiano could not have gained his freedom had he not learned as much as he did aboard Pascal's ship. The skills Equiano acquired aboard the ship ranged from practical skills to social skills, all of which came in handy later in England. Most of all, it was Equiano's ability to be persuasive and his rhetorical skills that earned him his freedom. Equiano was also a devout Christian, and his dedication to his religion also earned him freedom in the end. Because Equiano had developed such a strong Christian faith, he is sent to be a missionary in Africa as an ordained priest. He receives the support of Governor Macnamara in 1779. Macnamara had been to Africa, and sees the potential in sending an Africa as a priest to convert his own people. Equiano does not view Christianity as a tool of colonialism, because he has an emotional connection with his faith. His Christian faith has seen Equiano through the tough times on the ship, and provided him with the practical means by which to contemplate the sin of slavery as well as to talk his way into freedom. When he finally leaves the West Indies, Equiano experiences genuine freedom for the first time in his life, as he describes his moving about the British Isles as if he were a completely free man. This would not be possible if it were not for the skills that he learned on board the ships.

Work Cited

Equiano, Olaudah. The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African Written by Himself. Boston:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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