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The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano written by himself

UGC 111 Recitation

selene goh

on 21 September 2010

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Transcript of The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano written by himself

BACKGROUND The Interesting Narrative of
written by himself CONTEXT Autobiography published in Britain 1789
POINT OF VIEW 2. What does Equiano’s account reveal about the effect of slavery and the slave trade on African society? 3. What were the characteristics of slavery that Equiano encounter? 4. Once the slaves were on board the slave ship, what experiences contributed to their despair and demoralization, according to Equiano? LOW MORALE “a multitude of black people of every description a chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow.” Escape ------> DEATH
Recapture (worse than DEATH)
Do not escape -----> DEATH (illness)
Survive (worse than DEATH) NO HOPES OF ESCAPE KIDNAPPED as long as they are physically able " ... took opportunities... to attack and carry off as many as they could seize..."
" ... a multitude of black people chained together..." EXPLOITED Exploited economically
paid nothing beyond subsistence SEPARATION " I cried and griefed continually, and for several days I did not eat anything but what they forced into my mouth... " LIVING CONDITIONS “put down under the decks ... with the loathsomeness of the stench ... I became so sick”

“The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, almost suffocate us” "hell"-ish AUDIENCE Equiano's life story -
his kidnapping, journey to foreign lands, his experiences as a slave American and European abolitionists THESIS someone who experienced slavery
slave trade should be abolished influence the British political leaders who were
debating the slave trade issue in Parliament in
the late 1780s BIAS? Maybe! PURPOSE ECONOMY On the export of slaves in exchange for commodities such as salt, textiles, iron ore gunpowder, and industrial grade alcohol. OVER DEPENDENCE MISTRUST "kidnappers...took these opportunities of our parents' absence to attack and carry off as many as they could seize" POPULATION When the other countries' economy progressed, African's economy stayed in poverty. decreased 1. On the basis of Equiano’s account, what is the role of Africans in the slave trade? who were "seized" and kidnapped away from their family SLAVES SLAVE TRADERS “I found some black people about me, who I believed were some of those who had brought me on board and had been receiving their pay” " This man had two wives and some children and they all used me extremely well and did all they could to comfort me, particularly the first wife, who was something like my mother..." MASTERS FEAR OF THE"ALIENS" “... converted in terror... gotten into a world of bad spirits... their complexions too differing so much from ours, their long hair and the language they spoke...” "the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for i had never seen among my people such instances of brutal cruelty..." CRUELTY Escape from their LIFE of slavery Escape from their TRAGIC FATE 5. What factors might have contributed to the brutal treatment of the slaves by the ship’s crew?? Ships crew had a sense of superiority over the Africans IN POWER POWERFUL
VS. bad environment -> bad mood? Had to deal with slaves
who try to starve themselves to death
who try to escape BAD CONDITIONS Escape from their LIFE of slavery FRUSTRATIONS Selene Goh (36151378)
Stefie Gunawan (36756269) RULED BY FEAR through actual violence

through threat of violence DEHUMANIZED " flogged so unmercifully... he died in consequence of it" " this made me fear these people the more, and I expect nothing less than to be treated in the same manner" Bought and sold as property "... chained together..."
"... put us in separate parcels..." No decisive power over who 'owns' them HAD SOME GOOD DAYS As a Domestic Slave in Africa felt "adopted" and belonged " ... agreeable to our custom"
" ... darts and bows and arrows, as I had been used to do at home." " ... often changed masters..."
" ... one morning early, while my master... was still asleep, I was wakened out of my reverie to fresh sorrow, and hurried away" " ... they all used me extremely well and did all they could to comfort me, particularly the first wife, who was something like my mother..." NO FREEDOM put in fetters
chained to instill fear in them MAINTAIN ORDER " This made me fear these people the more, I expected nothing less than to be treated in the same manner... powerless
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