LitLink

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

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Sentimental View...


In “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” written by himself,
Equiano begins his narrative in the simple, yet enthusiastic voice that carries the reader throughout his life story. He makes his plans entirely clear, he intends his narrative to open the world's eyes to the degradation and inhumanity of slavery. Yet he knows, too, that merely preaching of goodwill towards Africans would not turn any heads. He must show directly the irony that those naming others "barbarians" were the barbaric ones themselves. His intensely personal story, with detailed descriptions of what he saw, cruel or ordinary, and of how one African dealt with forced encounters with different lands and cultures, was what it would take for Englishmen to relate and thus to understand. Equiano uses rhetoric as a way to grab the reader’s attention and to appeal to his/her emotions without directly stating that his trials were horrendous or that he was subjected to several acts of wrongdoing. Rhetoric is an effective expression in writing or speech, it is language that is not sincere. Rhetoric is an important factor in all forms of composition and analysis. Equiano’s writing portrays Christian and sentimental rhetoric. He also provides the reader with rhetoric pertaining to one’s natural rights. The particular form of rhetoric that I would like to discuss a bit further is that of the sentimental type. Equiano was enslaved as a young boy and passed through a variety of experiences. When Equiano was about the age of eleven, members of a rival tribe took him from his home, and he became separated from his family. The ones that were kidnapped were usually exchanged for rifles, textiles, tobacco, iron, brass, and other items. Sometimes, as in Equiano’s case, the captured would pass through a number of hands on their forced journey to the coastal towns along the Gold Coast or in the Nigeria delta, where they were held in forts until sold to European slave traders. The only person that Equiano had to turn to for companionship was his sister, who was taken away from him, not once, but twice. In his narrative, Equiano describes the horrible conditions aboard the slave ship, and the anxieties and sorrows he suffered upon being moved from place to place. Although, Equiano describes his hardships and provides the reader with several situations portraying signs of his excruciating distress, Equiano states, “I believe there are few events in my life which have not happened to many; it is true the incidents of it are numerous, and, did I consider myself an European, I might say my sufferings were great; but when I compare my lot with that of most of my countrymen, I regard myself as a particular favorite of heaven” (407). Equiano does not appear to be foolishly vain. He appears to be rather logical, modest, and rational. Equiano appeals to the reader’s emotions by making the negative situations known, but he does so without asking for the reader’s sympathy.

1 Comments:

Blogger aliya seen said...

The annotated bibliography writing is very important that you keep very careful notes about the work that you have looked at and record all of the information that you need for your bibliography.

1:52 AM  

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