Olaudah Equiano Literary Devices

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Today’s society understands the evil entangled with slavery, but America once routinely practiced it. Olaudah Equiano, an enslaved African who lived through the tragic and corrupt acts of the slave trade writes about his struggles in an autobiography. Equiano exposes the turpitude behind the bondage of blacks by employing the power of literary elements. He tells the appalling story of his life with rhetorical devices and persuasive techniques in order to promote a policy of equality and advance a movement of emancipation from slavery. Olaudah Equiano uses imagery, emotional appeal, and persuasive language in “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” to show the reader the theme that society has no place for slavery and the …show more content…

People consider a slave ship in the 1700s one of the scariest and most dangerous places on Earth at the time. Equiano describes the wicked conditions of the transatlantic slave trade and its affects on him and his peers. Equiano writes, “One day, when we had a smooth sea and moderate wind, two of my wearied countrymen who were chained together, preferring death to such a life of misery, somehow made through the nettings and jumped into the sea,” (Equiano 173). In these lines Equiano gives the reader an idea of the horrifying events on the ships including the death of his companions. Portraying this to readers helps them empathize with his experiences through the imagery of his work. Slave ships drain Africans mentally but also physically. Unsanitary and dangerous ships hold hundreds of slaves in the bottom of them making conditions unbearable. Equiano documents these conditions saying, “Many a time we were near suffocation from the want of fresh air, which we were often without for whole days together. This, and the stench of the necessary tubs, carried off many,” (Equiano). Many slaves die from these egregious conditions if they chose not to attempt suicide. Diseases of all kinds and the lack of food plague the slaves and kill many. Equiano relives his trauma in great detail to give the reader an image of the slave ships. He does this to convince people that slavery ultimately must come to an

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