Comparing Aphra Behn And Equiano 's ' Oroonoko And The Interesting Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano

1159 Words Nov 9th, 2015 5 Pages
Aphra Behn and Olaudah Equiano use their respective works, Oroonoko and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, to attack the theory of imperialism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The term imperialism is defined by James Tully as a trifecta of arguments in support of European superiority in foreign countries: firstly, that all other cultures are inferior, secondly, that the course of nature will Europeanize all cultures, and lastly, that it is the duty of Europeans to bring their culture to others. Behn, a female writer in Britain in the 1600’s, and Equiano, a former slave in the 1700’s, both write with decidedly abolitionist undertones, both being very forward-thinking for their times. While their writing styles are highly distinct, both authors use religion, specifically Christianity, to undermine the European idea of superiority directly and indirectly. Behn and Equiano both discredit Tully’s definition of imperialism through religion, which was one feature, that regardless of their theological differences, almost every European had in common. Behn and Equiano both work to dismantle the definition of imperialism as defined by Tully, but Behn does so in a much more outright manner. When Christianity is brought up in Oroonoko, Behn uses Oroonoko’s character to level direct accusations at the Church’s professed mission by stating that “but of all discourses [Oroonoko] liked that the worst,…

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