Summary Of Olaudah Equiano

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The infamous Atlantic Slave Trade was one of the most horrific ventures mankind ever condoned. Although this business endeavor did in fact produce many positive outcomes, its accomplishments are overshadowed by the unimaginable cruelty and indifference the slavers displayed towards their prisoners. When the atrocity of this world-wide trade had ended, around two of the twelve million Africans who were brutally kidnapped from their homes, had died during the voyages. Olaudah Equiano was one of the survivors. Growing up in a western African tribe, he lived with his sister and father, who was the chief. Prospects were high in Equiano's regard, as he would have inherited his father's chiefly position. But that likelihood was dismissed when he and…show more content…
Equiano explained that the crew above him had just caught a significant number of fish and that they had eaten and eaten until they were fully content; after, however, instead of giving the remains to the slaves, they disposed of it overboard. The following quote recounts the subsequent reactions of the prisoners, "some of my countrymen, being pressed for hunger, took an opportunity, when they thought no one saw them, of trying to get a little privately". These companions of his were starving, both literally, and with indignation--so they took matters into their own hands. Stealing fish in reprisal to their hunger and mistreatment was a form of rebellion. Although, interestingly enough, when Equiano wrote about the spectacle, he didn’t mention himself taking any part in it. Using the words like "my countrymen" and "they", Olaudah excluded himself entirely from any sort of outward dissent towards his captors--however, that does not mean he didn’t acquire an intense resentment too. It is quite possible to infer that his subtle yet uncompromising persistence to survive, overrode his desire for retribution. Olaudah Equiano must have known that the actions his companions were recklessly executing were…show more content…
The following scene occurred when one of the crew members took notice of Equiano's pensive gazes towards the quadrant. "And one of them, willing to increase it, as well as to gratify my curiosity, made me one day look through it." Whether or not this crew member indulged Olaudah's interest because of good will, or because of selfish satisfactions is irrelevant; but you might wonder what this quote has to do with compliance--I assure you, it is rather reasonable. What happened to the slaves who tried to steal fish? What happened to the slaves who jumped over-board? Those understandably rebellious individuals were punished severely, and were most probably treated a lot worse than the other...more compliant captives. So whilst this may sound slightly implausible, I believe it is actually quite well-grounded. If Equiano was recalcitrant, then there is little chance that he would, firstly, be up on deck, and secondly and more importantly, be able to satiate his desires such as using the quadrant. His captors simply would not have allowed him to; unruly prisoners would have been forced to remain below deck. But Olaudah demonstrated the beneficial character trait of compliance, and because of his obedience, the crew trusted

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