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Maritime History & Book Review - Essay Example

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Equiano’s work as a slave for the slave ship’s captain he was overwhelmed by the culture shock as a result of his introduction to the European culture and the way Europeans treated the slaves ( Equiano 134). He experienced extreme hardships and poor living conditions and at…
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Maritime History & Book Review Equiano’s work as a slave for the slave ship’s captain he was overwhelmed by the culture shock as a result of his introduction to the European culture and the way Europeans treated the slaves ( Equiano 134). He experienced extreme hardships and poor living conditions and at the same time had a great experience as he was able to savor the new sights and scenes and new experiences as well. He seems to have had a good relationship with the slave ship’s captain because he was given the name Gustavus Vassa a sign of acceptance and recognition. He became so fond of the name that he almost abandoned his real name.
The sailors were known to be ill-mannered in many respects like getting very drunk and got the boat stove inorder to stop the vessel from coming back as soon as expected. The sailor’s work involved staying on shore and watching the stores from persons with bad intentions. Their work enabled them to earn some little money, had better food in abundance. The sailor’s relation with the captain was not positive as the captain never trusted the sailors as they use to misuse the store resources and sometimes run away from the vessel and this barred him from making doing good business. The life of a sailor was full of danger with the many skirmishes and sieges across the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the West Indian Oceans (Equiano 97). Due to their living conditions as sailors they naturally resulted to being rebellious of their captains and being carefree. The sailors were known to mistreat the slaves on the basis of their being black men.
Equiano’s status of being a black man and former slave affected his maritime career as he was new to the European culture. He accepts this and enrolls himself in a school. Free black men were only allowed to invest only in black organizations. Equiano’s race made some of his fellow sailor’s skeptical as it was a risky action to let a black person know navigation. The Indian laws had strict laws about the access of slaves to ships as this was a prospect to escape (Edwards 39). Being a black man he was accused of trying to run away when they were in Philadelphia. Due to his race the whites always tried to cheat on him when trading as they imagined him to be uncivilized and thus could take advantage by failing to pay and bad debts. He was also assaulted by Dr. Perkins on the basis of his being a black man. His life was determined by his race where the black people were mistreated by the whites. This was his major setback on his maritime career as a black man.
The most important factor in his fight to improve his life situation was his determination to attain freedom. This is evident as despite his blow he was able to bounce back with more determination than before to push on with his aspirations. He still continued to save for his freedom. The driving factor to this was his nature of being a social and intellectual person who was ready to follow his instincts and his being inquisitive. His knowledge of the European culture like education seemed to improve his situation in life as at some point he was almost kidnapped back to the life of slavery and was released after he proved his education. His involvement in the Somersett’s case proved that the black men were free of the risk of being enslaved and thus improved the situation of his life and of his fellow black men (Constanzo 123).
Equiano managed to prove that the black man can be anything rather than being a slave for all his life and enabled the black man to have the freedom to live anywhere in the world without any racial discrimination. He was also a role model to fellow black men in striving hard against all odds to liberate themselves from racialism. Equiano directly or indirectly improved his life by publishing some work of art which highlighted some of his experiences and his career. This made him to be recognized in a discriminative society and he admits that he was rarely mistreated like the other black men as most people liked him.
Works Cited
Constanzo, Angelo. Surprising Narrative: Olaudah Equiano and the Beginnings of Black Autobiography. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 1987. Print.
Edwards, Paul. Equiano’s Travels: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African. Illnois: Waveland Pr Inc. 2006. Print.
Equiano, Olaudah & Carretta, Vincent. The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings: Revised Edition. New York:Penguin Classics.2003. Print.
Equiano, Olaudah, Shelly, Eversley, and Reid-Pharr, Robert. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: or, Gustavus Vassa, the African. New York: Modern Library; Modern Library pbk.2004. Print.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, THE AFRICAN WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. Luxemburg: Create Space. 2012. Print.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself. New York: Simon & Brown. 2012. Print. Read More
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