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Olaudah Equiano - Essay Example

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OLAUDAH EQUIANO SUBMITTED TO- SUBMITTED BY- OLAUDAH EQUIANO INTRODUCTION Olaudah Equiano was one of the most prominent members supporting the abolition of slave trade. According to him, he was pushed into slavery at a very early age. Over a period of time, he bought his way out of the slave trade, continuing to work in multiple roles, which include the ones like author, being a merchant and also an explorer in the different colonies of southern America, the Caribbean, the colonies in America and also in parts of the Arctic…
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Olaudah Equiano
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Download file to see previous pages He was the youngest one in the family, which also had five brothers and another sister. At the age of eleven, he was kidnapped along with his sister by the slaveholders. From there, he was a sent to the islands of Barbados, located in the West Indies. After that, he was transferred to Virginia (Equiano, 39). He was a bought by a member of the Royal Navy called as Michael Pascal. After serving him, he ended up being given to a merchant named as Robert King. After working some years for him, he gained his independence. Equiano settled in London and became a vocal voice against the anti-slavery movement. By the year 1783, he was involved in the transfer of information to a lot of the anti-slavery campaigners. Some of his accounts of the slavery paint a picture of the trials and tribulations faced by the slaves. His book was published in the year 1789 and went through a large number of editions. It was a sensational event, as it covered a large fact base regarding the slave trade. Equiano has mentioned a number of events regarding the slave trade, with a description of the cruelties being suffered by them. It has been mentioned by him, that the slaves suffered from a host of tortures including the “iron muzzle”. His work has helped in explaining the atrocities committed by the slave owners. This has been one of the reference points for the history of slavery and the eventual abolition. ANALYSIS There has been a recent controversy about the origin of the author. He was one of the most accomplished English speaking writers of the age, coming from an African origin. There has been an emergence of some recent information from sources: that the birth records and other details of Olaudah Equiano had discrepancies in them. One of the factors that were noticed as a part of the records, are the claims about the baptization at the Saint Margaret’s Church and the Arctic expedition. Some of the documents also cast a doubt on the veracity of the claims about his birth. It is being researched that the place of birth was not current day Nigeria, but South Carolina. In an event of these factors being true, they cast a reasonable doubt on the genuine nature of the thesis; regarding the slave trade. If this has been a case of the wrong identity being used, it could cast a number of aspersions on the image of Olaudah Equiano. Some of the historical records have suggested the date of birth as 1747 and not the year 1745. Some of the authors have described this behaviour to be of a man who is “self made” (Caretta, 277). This word has a lot of dichotomy in the meaning, with the achievement of success; as well as the realization of a childhood dream. This would have a significant impact on the description of the times and the events being expressed. His expression of the events is a reaction to his wanton need for achieving the due recognition and success. The extrapolation of the events is a way of defining his identity, as perceived by himself. CONCLUSION In light of the recent discoveries, it can be assumed that Olaudah Equiano may have made an attempt to reclaim the African identity, rather than having lived one. So, much of the middle passage in the slave ship may not seem ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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