This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Equiano: The Interesting Narrative

The interesting story of Olaudah Equiano is compelling in the sense of human nature. The story shows just how much a person can suffer through and still maintain a intelligent state of being. Through the narrative Equiano relates to his reader in different ways, trying to allow people into his world.
One way Equiano attempts to reach the reader is through the universal tie in religion. When speaking of the time before he was captured, "I remember we never polluted the name of the object of our adoration, on the contrary, it was always mentioned with the greatest reverence;..." He speaks of their relation to the Jews, "We practiced circumcisionlike the Jews, and made offerings and feasts on that occasion, in the same manner as they did." By portraying the relation between his narrative and religion it allows the reader to be pulled in due to their own religious background. He reveals how the faith of Christianity is against slavery, "O, ye nominal Christians! Might not an African ask you - Learned you this from your God, who says unto you, Do unto all men as you would men should do unto you." At another point in the story he makes another comment referring to the Christian faith and where is stands on slavery, "Who (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth..." Throughout these attempts Equiano is pleading with the reader to see that the way society is living is completely opposite of their teachings. He also brings to the surface the reader's fear, as he speaks of the possibility of a rebellion of the slaves.
Equiano pulls the reader by their emotions as well. He shares about the love he had for his sister and when she was taken from him, " While she and I held another by the hands across his breast all night; and thus for awhile we forgot our misfortunes, in the joy of being together, but even this small comfort was soon to have an end; for scarcely had the fatal morning appeared when she was again torn from me forever!" He goes on to express the pain and heartache he has a result of this tragedy,"I was now more miserable, if possible than before." Equiano also approaches the reader's sentimental side, "Negros taken from their wives, wives taken from their husbands, and children taken from their parents, and sent off to other islands, and wherever else their merciless lords choose, and probably never more during life see each other!" Through this he is revealing the emotional pain of slavery and depression that can become of it.
My final point that Equiano uses is logic. Natural rights were very important to Equiano in his beliefs. According to him we all as human beings, black,white,red or purple all have basic natural rights. He views that we were not created in such a way as slavery. That it is this world and its sin of power that taints human kindness with cruelty. When talking about this fact he states,"which violates that first natural right of mankind , equality and independency, and gives one man a dominion over his fellow which God could never intend!"
Equiano's narrative is compelling to the reader's understanding of a very influential time in history that has determined the world we live in today. He allows ones eyes to see his story in a very descriptive way and allowed them to feel his pain. Whether the story is completely true or if there are some fabrications the reader is still able to view the history of slavery and tragedy human beings have suffered due to its consequences.


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