The Struggle Of Olaudah Equiano Essay

1452 words - 6 pages

The Struggle of Olaudah Equiano

In the book The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Olaudah Equiano the main character, was a victim to slavery and the world around him. Equiano was an Ibo from Nigeria, the youngest son in the family and his mother's favorite. He was trained at a young age in the arts of agriculture and war. His mother showered him with emblems, as if he was a great warrior. Equiano had a blissful and wonderful childhood. His nation encouraged all to immerse in the arts of music, dancing and poetry. Food and supplies were never scarce, on the contrary supplies were usually overflowing and plentiful. In his autobiography, Equiano idealized his African childhood and showed great pride in his race.
Equiano's father was an elder in the community and was in a high and important rank. He signified a person of grandeur. Cutting his skin across at the top of the forehead, and drawing it down to the eyebrows marked his father. Most of the judges and senators were also marked in this way. Equiano was destined to receive it.
Equiano's African status affects his experience as a slave. Equiano is a decendant from an African nobleman. He is not a commoner. This high African status affects his experience on the trans - Atlantic ship. He speaks to the white men on an authoritative level, daring to ask questions. They do not intimidate him. He is used to conversing with adults and is naturally curious and self-reliant.
Equiano became a slave when the adults were working in the fields of his homeland. While the adults worked, the children assembled in the courtyard and played at their leisure. Some of the children were lookouts for assailants or kidnappers. The kidnappers took the opportunity to grab children in their parent's absence. One day when all the people were gone, two men and a woman who got over their walls took Equiano and his sister. They seized both children and gagged their mouths while running off with them into the woods. They spent the night in a house where they were not fed. Equiano remembered the shock and isolation that he felt during the Middle Passage. He feared that the European slave traders would eat him.
His captors complexions, hair and language were different than any he had heard. Equiano saw many black people chained together. He fainted from the over powering horror and anguish. The black slave traders sold him. He was given liquor, which made him sick. Then the slave traders abandoned him and left the ship. When the white men offered him food, he refused and they beat him severely. The conditions on board were horrible. People died from the stench and filth. The white people described their land to Equiano and told him he would work there. The passage was suffocating and he prayed for death but could not escape.
In Africa, Equiano's father owned slaves. African people became slaves through warfare or as punishment for a crime, such as adultery. The slave traders had to prove that...

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