Olaudah Equiano begins his journal entry by describing the ocean and the slave ship, which were the first things he saw when he was taken onto the slave ship. He was fascinated by them, but he soon realized that it was going to be a horrific journey. Equiano’s first thought was that they were going to kill him, for they had a different skin tone, bore long hair, and spoke a different language. The crew beat Olaudah when he refused to eat. The conditions under the deck where Equiano lived were dreadful: people were packed together so tightly that they were fighting for breathing room.
The Slave Ship, by Marcus Rediker was wrote in 2007 about the cruel and brutal actions the slaves endured on their journey across the Atlantic Ocean. He states, “this has been a painful book to write, if I have done any justice to the subject, it will be a painful book to read.” Marcus Rediker accomplished exactly that. This book was not only compelling but emotional, heartbreaking, and makes a reader think, how could someone be so cruel to another living being. Within the first couple pages, the book brought me to tears. He mainly focused on the 1700’s when Britain controlled most of the slave trade throughout the world. During the book, Rediker informs the reader about the tortured slaves as they were shipped from West Africa to the new world. Marcus Rediker, a professor at the University of Pittsburg, taught history and starting researching the slave trade by
He travelled a lot. To the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Arctic as he attempted to reach the North Pole. When returning to London, he came into contact with an anti-slavery campaigner, Granville Sharp when Equiano had heard his friend, John Annis, a former African American cook and a freed slave, was kidnapped by John’s former owner. Equiano and Sharp tried to save Annis but didn’t make it.
Toni Morrison theorized that “With typically eighteenth-century reticence [Olaudah Equiano] records his singular and representative life for one purpose; to change things,” (512). He wanted to challenge the way people viewed slavery. History explains the gruesome and disturbing past that the African slaves experienced in terms of being owned, abused, and controlled under barbaric behaviors of white men. Due to the devastating and unthinkable actions committed to the African slaves, they were unable to share their mistreatment with the world and their voice was forced to stay silent. In literary works, people are able to become a voice throughout history, and because African slaves were kept quiet, they did not get the change to share with the
Men such as Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson were key to slaveries abolition. Equiano was a former African slave repetitively bought and sold for £40 until 1766 when he earned enough money to buy his freedom. In 1775, long before Wilberforce started to petition, he was involved with a plantation in the Caribbean and tried to help slaves, almost costing him his freedom. On arrival back to England he started a group called ‘Sons of Africa’, which campaigned for slaveries abolition, and in 1789 published his autobiography called ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano’. It became a bestseller and sold over 2000 copies.
Throughout the book we see occasions on how Equiano was lucky such as, he was able to buy his freedom, tried to run away and was not punished, and was able to improve his education. Equiano accomplished to gain his freedom which is something that most slaves found impossible to do. One of the reasons Equiano was able to buy his freedom is because of his captain. For example “ I verily believe I should not have obtained my freedom when I did; and it not improbable that I might not have been able to get it any rate afterwards.” (The Interesting Narrative of Oladuah Equiano p.107)
I think equiano was successful and made it very clear that slavery is injustice. One example from the text was "refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands and laid me across i think the windlass and tied my feet while the other flogged me severely." Clearly the white men were unfair with him for not accepting to eat what they had offered him. Some of the slaves had even considered dying rather than staying alive with them. The slaves would try to drown themselves onto the sea ,some were successful and passed away but those who got caught would get brought back to the ship and get punished and flogged severely. "the crew used to watch us very closely, who were not chained down to the decks lest we should leap into the water and i
While Equiano's narrative shows the terrible conditions that he and his fellow Africans had to endure on the ship, Columbus’s journal has a very different cover. As opposed to Equiano's picture, Columbus’s journal shows he and his crew landing on an island in the Caribbean claiming land for spain triumphantly. This obviously shows two very different objectives in the stories. Emotion can be effected with the words we use as well, in Equiano's narrative there is an
The mental health of the slaves, which was so evidently tarnished, was completely disregarded by these people. Riggs’ detail of each slave’s face shows the anguish and torture that each one is going through. The reader could also imagine this through the imagery that is displayed throughout Equiano’s narrative. One example of this is when Equiano described the lower deck of the second ship he was on. He stated that “the shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable” (697).
Did you know that the average cost of a slave in America about 1850s was about $400, which as of today it would be about $12,000 ? “Slaves” come from the slavonic population in Eastern Europe, which they were also enslaved in the Middle Ages. A slave is defined when (slave)owners basically just take control of others and force them to obey their commands. When i was reading the Equiano, I noticed that him and his sister had got captured when they were little children and were brought on the ship where they were then labeled as slaves. They had no way to escape, they were trapped, there was no other way to get back to their hometown so they basically had nothing else to do but work for the slave masters. This was also a sad story about the children who are forced to work with no mercy
Thus, we can see how each story of the captives help reveal the different feelings one might have while being held and dehumanized like Equiano and Rowlandson were. This is important because both rowlandson and Equiano were subject to torture, humiliation, and slavery. So, how would you react if you had someone you loved being subject to all these horrible, abusive
His “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave”, (Document G) makes emotional reading (lurid descriptions like "bitterest dregs of slavery" or "broken in body, mind, and soul" elicited reactions of disgust and dejection, which is the what abolitionists were hoping for) and showed that ultimately a slave, long thought to be a possession and less than human, was very much a person with reason and intellect. It provides unsurmountable proof that like any man, a slave deserved a life of dignity and liberty. His work shed light on the constant hard-working and abusive lifestyle that slaves
Slavery is wicked and gory and monstrous and that is well known today but during the time it was well known. In Frederick Douglass’s, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass tries to persuade everyone to stop the madness and recognize how awful slavery is; to do this he uses comparison and realization leading to the reader being blown away by this one slave’s life story. The goal of Douglass’s writing makes the reader see slavery in a different light. This is why Douglass’s writing is such a heavy read. To get his point across he talks about how monstrous his whole life is, starting for the very beginning when “... the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it” (Douglass 1.4) Douglass had to go through
The Desire for Freedom Mary prince had suffered from an unfortunate life, she was worked to the bone and kept like an animal, but even in her worse of times she never gave up hope. Olaudah Equiano had also suffered from slavery, but in his case it was a more fortunate one, he was more of a witness of such crimes against slaves, during the middle passage Equiano speaks of the horrors he saw, the smells, the ear wrenching cries and the overall atmosphere of the ship’s hull, where Mary herself was the one taking on the punishment for even the smallest infractions from her slave masters. When it comes to both of their stories, they both decided that they were stories that should be told, not just so they could tell it, but so people knew of such ways other
Many of the sailors were accurately portrayed by their actions, by throwing slaves into the ocean, flogging, beaten, tortured, and other forms of cruel punishment. “Alexander Falconbridge was a surgeon on slave ships in the 18th century. An abolitionist and governor himself is guilty of all the violent attacks towards slaves. A disgraces to human nature, and profound language were brutal examples sailors often used towards slaves.” ( First Hand; Accounts Study).