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Book review on Olaudah Equiano - Research Paper Example

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Name: Course: College: Tutor: Date: Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Middlesex Hospital, London: Olaudah. 1789. Print. Based on his autobiographical account, Olaudah was born in the year 1745 in the West African province of Eboe, currently South-eastern Nigeria…
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Book review on Olaudah Equiano
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Download file to see previous pages One of Equiano’s masters and a captain in a British trade ship, Henry Pascal, changed Equiano’s name to Gustavus Vassa. This is a name he used his entire life, with an exception of the autobiography’s publishing. Equiano Olaudah travelled extensively during his service to Pascal and succeeding masters. For instance, he visited Holland, England, Gibraltar, Scotland, Nova Scotia, Caribbean, Georgia, South Carolina and the Pennsylvania. After his purchase from Pascal by a Quaker merchant, Robert King, Equiano’s life gradually took a turn. He worked as Mr. King’s clerk and also had the opportunity to explore his minor trades, which enabled him to save some money and later buy his freedom in the year 1766. In the subsequent year, Equiano Olaudah settled down in England where he attended school and worked for Dr. Charles Irving, a prominent scientist, as an assistant. In the year 1792, Equiano married a lady known as Susanna Cullen, with whom they had two daughters before his death in 1797. Equiano’s autobiography is rather intriguing owing to its narrative approach. He begins the book by describing the ordinary life he used to live with his family in Africa, prior to his kidnap. He indicates that he was the last son, hence his mother’s favourite child and irrespective of the large size of his family they had a home and sufficient food. Equiano’s greatest worry was his slight failure in warrior classes, a clear sign of the carefree life he had as a typical young African male. At the tender age of eleven, he heard of rumours that malicious people were kidnapping young children and selling them off as slaves. Equiano remembers climbing trees and looking around to see if these people would come to get him or his siblings. As fate would have it, Equiano, his brother and sister were taken away in the dark of night when his parents were not around. This marked the drastic and change in his life, especially after being separated from his brother and sister. The emotional upheaval caused by the situation is described by the author’s own words that “She was torn from me and immediately carried away, while I was left in a state of distraction not to be described. I cried and grieved continually, and for several days I did not eat anything but what they forced into my mouth” (54). On reaching a slave market, Equiano got sold and accompanied his new handler to a house where other people spoke his native language, a form of consolation, albeit little given the critical situation. Owing to his dedication to work, Equiano was considered to be the best slave in the house. However, his life changed soon after, when he was loaded into a ship with other slaves with no knowledge of what would happen next. He feigned fainting when being shoved into the ship with the hope of being left behind, to no avail. Equiano had to work as soon as he got into the Virginia bound ship and he remembers how bad the conditions were in the ship, to the extent of most slaves committing suicide by jumping overboard. Equiano spent some little amount of time in a Virginia farm but he was then taken back on the British slave ships and Trade Vessels serving the captains as a trusted slave. It was in the course of sailing, that he was given the name Gustavas Vassa, by Captain Pascal (Equiano 26). When still serving under Captain Pascal, Equiano travelled to many ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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