Term Paper: Narrative

Pages: 7 (2212 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] This was another reason why it was subjected to a lot of controversy and then later on Blackwood's Magazine by James MacQueen challenged the accuracy of this book. The editor of this magazine was a supporter of the white West Indians and there vigorously criticized the anit-slavery movement that was galvanized by this book. Much of the controversy was based on the grounds that Mary was a woman with low morals and she was only using her words as tools to incite people just to achieve her own selfish goals. Moreover, it was also said in criticism for Mary that was only the heart of the Pringle family that they could stand a woman with such low morals in their household.


Even though the texts of both these books had discussed the issues of the white slave traders and the way the slaves were treated, there are some differences between the two texts, however, these differences are only minor ones and can be considered to be insignificant. First of all, the main difference is the timing of these two books. The book written by Equiano was written at a time when slavery was still legal in Great Britain and he was kidnapped while he was travelling from Africa to the Americas and England. On the other hand, the book that was written by Mary was written at a time when slavery had almost been abolished in Britain but was still legal in some of the Caribbean colonies of England. Secondly, there are three main themes that have been discussed in the memoir of Equiano (as explained earlier), whereas there is on one main theme of the book that was written by Mary and that was the brutal behavior of the white people with their black and oppressed slaves. Equiano has explained the life of the slaves even after they are freed and has discussed the hardships that these people have to suffer even after their enslaved life has ended. He also explains how he used the Bible to help him make a way through this violence and brutality and it has been narrated by him towards the end of the book that how he was successful in achieving his goals by taking help and guidance from the Bible, and therefore there is some religious element to this memoir as well, whereas we do not find any such discussion in the book written by Mary.

It cannot be said as to which of these two books attracted more controversy than the other one, but it can rightly be said that the text of Mary stimulated an immediate response from the public, be it criticism or the sympathy for the people who were being treated this way. Many analysts claim that the writing of Mary comes with more vividness than that of Equiano, because she was the daughter of two slaves and she had been seeing all the violence ever since she opened her eyes to the world.


It cannot be gauged as which one of these two texts or memoirs had more influence on the literature than the other, but it should always be remembered that both these texts are perhaps the most significant ones when the anti-slavery movements are being discussed. Both these memoirs became the world best-sellers of their times and had they not been written during the time when it was an era of Romantic literature in England, these texts would not have been able to attract such a huge number of readers. Moreover, the reason why these texts are important in the context that they became one of the most widely read books is that they were not written by authors of repute, but they were just accounts on the lives of two slaves.


Carey, Brycchan; Ellis, Markman; Salih, Sara. Discourses of Slavery and Abolition. Palgrave Macmillan (2004).

Gates, Henry Louis. The Signifying Monkey, Oxford University Press.

Kohl, Meike. Strategies of Emancipation in Olaudah Equiano's 'The Interesting Narrative and Mary Prince's 'The History of Mary Prince'. GRIN Verlag GmbH (April 6, 2007).

Prince, Mary. The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, F. Westley and A.H. Daviseckley (eds). 1831.

The Interesting Narrative of the Life… [END OF PREVIEW]

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