Slavery In The Life Of Olaudah Equiano

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While slavery was brutal and difficult itself, the process in which Africans become slaves could be seen as just as horrific. In Olaudah Equiano’s narrative, The Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano recalls his heart-wrenching tale of being kidnapped into slavery. From experiencing it firsthand, Equiano is able to explicitly describe the fear, grief, despair, and brutality slaves like himself underwent. From being torn from family, dragged to strange new lands, to be thrown on an over-cramped ship, and then finally being sold into slavery, the injustice of slavery starts from the moment they’re kidnapped. Africans could never be truly at peace. The constant fear of being stolen from their homes loomed over their heads constantly. Children would …show more content…
An honest mistake resulting the death of a chicken (which was probably intended to be killed anyway for human consumption) sends Equiano running to the woods in fear of being flogged by his master. In fear of perishing in the woods, Equiano chooses the lesser of two evils and returns home to accept the possibility of being flogged. He fortunately isn’t and lives with his master for another time period until he is sold off to a new master. Through his travels he is eventually reunited with with his sister, but the reunion is short-lasting as she is taken away. As he says, ”the thoughts of your sufferings have damped my prosperity” (Equiano p. 5) Even though he is free now and lives well, the unknowns of his sister’s fate have prevented him to be at total peace and will never allow him to have full closure of his traumatic experiences as a slave …show more content…
Africans masters would treat their slaves respectfully,taking an account for their well-being. Equiano was carried if he was tired. He also ate with one of his masters and was allowed to taste first because he was the eldest. The differentiation between African and white masters was made evident as he traveled through the Atlantic. The Europeans viewed their slaves’ lives as nothing. The air was hardly breathable. They flogged their slaves for the tiniest of infractions. If they had extra food, they would never consider giving it to the Africans. They just threw it away. This clear distinction between African and European slaveowners further emphasizes the inhumane treatment of the Africans inflicted on by Europeans. Mainland Europeans would want change, and if those that wished to continue slavery would at least wish for more humane treatment of slaves (Equiano).
Through these emotions -grief, fear, and despair- he is able to effectively gain the sympathy of the Europeans. As he paints the realistic horror of losing a sibling, being taking to unknown lands, and living along the lines of life and death, the Europeans are able to understand the inhumanity and destruction the slave trade has on an entire continent. As Equiano hoped, he begins the first step in abolishing the Slave Trade in

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