Olaudah Equiano's Autobiography Analysis

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Many images in Equiano’s autobiography are disturbing such the separation of the writer and his sister, and the crew members whipping other members. However, the image of hundreds of slaves in the ship's cargo hold is the most disturbing in the account. Equiano stated, “The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us” (Equiano 3). Hundreds of African men and women were fettered together in the hot cargo hold, were barely fed, and only had buckets to defecate in which were not regularly emptied. These conditions led to disease, illness and often death; horrendous conditions like these are cruel and inhumane.
Equiano includes the flogging of a white crew member to highlight the fact that the white men are savages; the slaves witnessed the whites cruelly
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Olaudah states “...that the air soon became unfit for respiration from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died, thus falling victims to the improvident avarice,” many slaves became sick and died, thus were unable to be sold (Equiano 3). This waste was reconciled when an insurance for expired slaves came about, and was later exploited by intentionally killing slaves. Until slaves were insured, the maltreatment of cargo was a contradiction to their ultimate goal.
People were treated as belongings or lesser beings and were traded for money. The slaves are not considered human in this time, but as animals “...we were all pent up together like so many sheep in a fold…” (Equiano 4). These conditions and brutishness can be compared to today’s sex trade. Young men and women are sold illegally to be used and mistreated until death, though slavery in this time was
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