The Interesting Narrative by Olaudah Equiano, African American Slave Who Bought His Freedom

May 5, 2021 by Essay Writer

To begin with, this narrative of Olaudah Equiano is extremely powerful and inspirational. Not only does it illustrate his own narrative, but some key details such as: how he bought his freedom, what he did with his freedom, and how he became an abolitionist and public speaker. This narrative is well dissected in comprehensive detail that goes in depth about the time when he was kidnapped along with his sister, being around numerous masters in Africa, and how the Guerin sisters taught him how to read and write. In the following paragraphs I will be critiquing Equiano’s narrative in various ways.

Olaudah Equiano’s main purpose of writing this narrative was to explain the harsh conditions of African American slaves lived in and how they were treated. In my opinion, Equiano had two target audiences, the audience he was trying to attract the most were, the British Politicians who were arguing over the Slave Trade in Parliament. His second target audience, were future African American slaves, newspaper writers during that time period, future historians, and future generations of students like myself because he knew that slaves are not well educated, and he could make a major impact with it. With Equiano being a former slave, well-educated individual, and a public speaker, he knew in the near future he could have made a major impact on banning slavery for all slaves. Also, Equiano described his experiences in a vivid form where I could picture the sensory details. An example of a vivid sensory detail in the narrative, he stated, “My cries had no other effect than to make them tie me faster and stop my mouth, and then they put me into a large sack. They also stopped my sister’s mouth, and tied her hands” (P. 38). Also, in the narrative, Equiano explained the gruesome conditions when they were shipping them across the Atlantic Ocean, he stated, “The filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated, the shrieks of the women” (P.69). He handled this atrocious challenge by his willpower, he knew how physically tough these conditions were, but tried his absolute best to stay positive and survive.

This Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano had several strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths the narrative had, it was written in second person to appeal to the reader from a slave’s narrative point of view. Another strength, Equiano was an educated person, he used vivid sensory words that could make his target audience image able what he went through. Also, when he talked about the Middle Passage, it is well discussed in today’s history classes and it is a primary resource that Historians can rely on. It expressed that slaves are humans too, he stated, “But is not the slave trade entirely a war with the heart of a man? And surely that which is begun by breaking down the barriers of virtue involves in its continuance destruction to every principle, and buries all sentiments in ruin” (P. 110). On the other hand, I could not find many weaknesses within the narrative. If I had to choose one weakness in the narrative, the narrative was extremely powerful, however it took several decades for slavery to be abolished, many politicians who were against slavery did not consider it. Finally, Equiano mentioned a lot about his religion, Christianity, there were several pages in which he talked about religion. When he talked about it, to me, it seemed as if religion was a huge aspect of his life and he was very passionate towards it. He mentioned, that he was favored by Providence, he considered himself a Predestinarian, and that he believed that his soul’s course was ordained, and it was his duty to accept this.

In conclusion, the author set a very high standard in this autobiography. It explains what an African American slave had to go through during the Middle Passage, how he was treated by his numerous masters, how he bought his freedom, how the sister’s impact on him teaching how to read and write helped him grow in a abolitionist. The autobiography is a primary source because it emotionally and informationally present historians and students about one of the worse events in African American history, the slave trade.

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