Olaudah Equiano Fact Or Fiction

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Fact or Fiction: The Effects of Misrepresentation
Literature appears in many forms from fiction to non-fiction to memoirs with each providing a different purpose for the intended reader. Often, authors will write their memoirs in order to give the reader new knowledge of events through personal experience rather than to entertain them as a folk tale might. Consequently, those in search of gaining knowledge through personal experience on a particular event will most likely choose to evaluate the personal memoirs of authors who lived within the time the events took place. Thus, if an author’s memoir is proven to contain misleading material, such as place of birth as witnessed with Olaudah Equiano’s memoir, the overall legitimacy or validity of
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His memoir begins with his capture as a young boy in southern Nigeria, and provides detailed illustrations of the terrors he experienced crossing the middle passage aboard a slave ship (Perkins 162). One such passage within his memoir portrays the event of his initial experience below deck. To reveal the horrible living conditions that slaves suffered on the ship he affords his readers with a statement bringing all senses into account, “the loathsomeness of the stench and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste anything.” (Equiano 164) However, if Equiano was born in South Carolina rather than Africa as he states, his work would provide little to no weight to the personal experience witnessed by those who actually were captured and forced to travel the horrifying voyage across the middle passage in route to America. That said, it does not necessarily mean that the information contained within his Equiano’s memoir, while deceitful, is untruthful or …show more content…
Furthermore, upon purchasing his freedom he traveled through the Caribbean where he became involved with formation of a new plantation off the coast of Central America by rendering aid to the slaves who worked the land ("Olaudah Equiano”). He subsequently took up the craft of a tradesmen traveling throughout the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and the arctic before writing his memoir and finally settling down in England ("Olaudah Equiano”). His travels as a slave and then a free man indicate that even though Equiano may not have made the long voyage across the middle passage personally, it would be obtuse to claim he did not witness the harsh realities of the living conditions provided for the slaves to include the treatment they endured during the crossing. This indicates that while Equiano is possibly dishonest in claiming he personally made the trip, the events themselves and the descriptions Equiano uses to recreate the environment and experiences that slaves underwent on their way to America should be considered relevant due to the fact they are based on actual experiences he witnessed during his travels, personal or

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