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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Equiano, really an interesting narrative!!!

In reading this narrative a lot of emotions surfaced. Feelings of sympathy, anger and confusion to name a few. Slavery is to me a subject like religion, it causes explosive debates based on personal and political opinions and facts. Equiano's narrative is filled with examples of all of these opinions. From beginning to end the narrative has a great flow. Equiano used several rhetoric angles to deliver this story. The central rhetoric angle is Christianity. Equiano uses the laws of Christianity to argue that slavery is unjust and barbaric. In the story, Equiano's character asks one of the overseers during the admission of a brutal act of amputating one of a slave's legs, if the man had died in the operation, how he would, and a Christian be prepared to answer to God for that horrid act. Equiano believed there is a standard of life a Christian must live. These things are against slavery in every way. A Christian should image the spirit of God, the creator. Kindness, love, and peace are traits a Christian should possess. This is the total opposite of what a slave owner was. Equiano used a second rhetoric angle, being human rights. Equiano proposed the argument that every human being deserves the right to be treated fairly. He argues his point by visiting the idea that no man is superior or inferior to another. During slavery blacks and Africans were treated like animals. They had no rights like other humans had. The slaves were beat, brutalized, and disgraced. All dignity was stripped from them. The descriptions of how the slaves were brutily treated sets the stage for a third rhetoric angle, sentiment. Equiano uses sentimental rhetoric in a modest way to explain his experiences with slavery. Any human being with emotions will be moved by Equiano's description of how he was torn from his family and all that he loved to become a slave. The reader, in my case, will find themselves having empathy as well as sympathy for Equiano's character. To have another human being treat you like you are less than an animal makes you full of anger and frustration. The slave owners were cruel for sport towards the slaves. The way they hunted other humans, like a hunter hunts for deer is almost unimagineable. In a way Equiano's narrative has similarities to Rousseau's narrative confessions. Both characters are cosumed with the need to please the opposite sex, which seems to root from the relationships they had, or didn't have with their mother. Equiano often mentions how close he was to his mother, before he was captured. He tells the reader how he always wanted to be with her in any circumstance. The similarities of the two narritives are so prevalent, because they are narratives spoken from the author's emotional sense. By writing from an emotional point of view, the author is able to grasp the reader in a way that logic and rationalism cannot. Equiano's narrative causes people in my opinion to question their views on slavery and general treatment of mankind. It brings about an appreciation for our lives today. If Equiano's character can go through the trials of horrid slavery and still have innocense, then everyone should lock away a small part of themselves that can remain innocent and optimistic in times of tribulation.


Blogger Jeremiah Newell said...

Good blog Deborah! I really enjoyed your arguments of the three most important rhetorics. You cited examples for each one further proving your points. I would encourage you to cite a few more examples when making an argument. Show that your example is not just an exception to the rule. Nonetheless, I enjoyed your enthusiasm. Job well done!

2:28 PM  

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