Florence Nightingale And Olauda Equiano

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The identity given to an individual is often erroneous or restricted as it is primarily constructed by the perceived notions of society. For instance, two very distinctive authors, Florence Nightingale and Olaudah Equiano, extended beyond the constrained image of their given identities. Although these two writers lived during different periods of time, - Equiano in the late 1700s and Nightingale during the late 18th century- they were both placed by society into a neat, rigid category, which limited the understanding of the complexity of their individuality. By analyzing their personal lives as well as their literary compositions, specifically The Interesting Narrative of Olauda Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, by Equiano, and Cassandra,…show more content…
In particular, having a connection and close relationship with God, allowed both of this individuals to find meaning and understanding in their existence. In Nightingale’s case, by experiencing various divine interventions, she believed it was her responsibility to be some type of savior for her gender, “…God who commanded her to be a savior and who justified her rebellion against the feminine morality of domestic duty and humble self-sacrifice;” and in such way, Nightingale assimilated a new side to her identity (Showalter 404). This is revealed in Cassandra as she references back to her personal beliefs: “…at last there shall arise a woman, who will resume, in her soul, all the sufferings of her race, and that woman will be the Saviour of her race” (Nightingale 1630). Similarly, Equiano, through his personal narrative, provides an understanding about his conversion to Christianity and the importance of defining himself in terms of this religion. In fact, he becomes so closely associated with his faith and Christian beliefs- as well as establishing a connection with the Quaker- that he is identified by others as an intersection between race and religious affiliation: “…they also styled me to black Christian” (Equiano 102). Notably, Equiano embraces and acknowledges religion as part of who he is and what distinguishes him. As an example, he openly mentions, in this case as an attempt to claim his freedom, his religious sacraments: “…besides this I have been baptized...” (Equiano
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