Equiano's Personal Identity

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Personal identity is one’s self concept that it is comprised of two dispositions, internal and external, and this identity can evolve over the course of a life. Through The Interesting Narrative, the reader comes to see Equiano as a man who is trying to evolve and change in-order-to evoke a greater social reaction and drive change. Equiano is motivated to maintain his external identity so that his voice will be heard and his book be read, with the end goal of abolishing slavery in mind. He is motivated to evolve his internal disposition to establish himself as a speaking subject by acquiring skills associated with the British. Identity is key in this work as Equiano writes the narrative as a representative of the Africans. However, as he establishes…show more content…
The Methodists in England argued for social change; that the Church of England had to change it’s view on the slave trade. Methodists were suited for the mobile wold of the British empire, it was an optimistic movement that was organized around people and built on feelings (Farber 10/26/15). It appealed to Equiano because it is a religion that was built around travel, bringing interconnection from place to place. The transmission of methodism is not based on a doctrine, but built around travelers who carry the gospel (Farber 10/26/15). Therefore, it was his exposure to the war and ships that fueled his desire to join the Methodist movement. After having spent three or four years in England, a large part of that time at sea, Equiano considered himself “almost an Englishman.” (Equiano 77). He was able to speak English tolerably well, and able to understand everything that was said. He now “felt [himself] quite easy with these new countrymen” (Equiano 77). While the language barrier was down, he continued to search for a way to speak authoritatively within the “white” culture. Equiano finds solace in religion, as is pushed to God in two distinct instances. After hearing George Whitefield speak in Philadelphia about the Methodists, he was attracted to their emphasis on suffering and personal liberty. Equiano ultimately turns to religion as a unifying language between him and the Europeans. The second instance was on an Arctic voyage led by John Phipps that almost cost Equiano his life. In a time of need, “he began to call on the good God of Heaven for his help; and in the time of our utter need he heard us, and against hope, or human probability, delivered us!” (176). His survival led him to “seek the Lord with full purpose of heart ere it be too late” (178). The importance of his conversion and baptism lies in the fact that Christian scripture allows him to
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