There he is purchased and put to work on a Virginia plantation, doing light field work and household chores. He is not in Virginia long before Michael Henry Pascal, a lieutenant in the British royal navy and captain of a merchant ship, purchases him as "a present to some of his friends in England" p. During their spring voyage to England, Pascal renames the eleven-year-old Equiano Gustavus Vassa, and Equiano forges a friendship with a white American boy named Robert Baker, which lasts until Baker's death two years later.
After the ship's arrival in England, Equiano is exposed to Christianity. When he asks questions about his first encounter with snow, he is told it is made by "a great man in the heavens, called God. Equiano describes the various battles and ship transfers that take place after his return to sea with Pascal. He also expresses his growing ease with the European culture he initially found so strange and frightening: "I ceased to feel those apprehensions and alarms which had taken such strong possession of me when I first came among the Europeans" p.
As his time with Pascal progresses, Equiano professes a growing attachment to his master and a desire to "imbibe" and "imitate" the English culture in which he is immersed p. He can "now speak English tolerably well" and "embrace[s] every occasion of improvement. They become, in a sense, patrons to Equiano, not only treating him kindly but also supporting his education and his interest in Christianity by sending him to school.
The Guerins are also instrumental in persuading Pascal to allow Equiano to be baptized into the church. Equiano continues his studies and his religious development independently whenever possible, but his visits to England are always temporary, as he returns to sea with his captain whenever Pascal and the ship are ready for a new voyage.
The journeys are always fraught with danger, and he describes numerous skirmishes and sieges throughout the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and West Indian Oceans. Equiano faithfully serves Pascal for several years and, believing that Pascal's kindness implies a promise to free him, he is shocked at an abrupt betrayal during a layover in England, when Pascal has him roughly seized and forced into a barge.
Dazed by his sudden change in fortunes, Equiano argues with Captain Doran that Pascal "could not sell me to him, nor to any one else. I have served him. I have been baptized; and by the laws of the land no man has a right to sell me" p.
After Doran tells Equiano he talks "too much English" and threatens to subdue him, Equiano begins service under a new master, for he is "too well convinced of his power over me to doubt what he said" Dejected at the situation in which he now finds himself, Equiano begins to believe his new situation is a result of God's punishment for his sins and soon resigns himself to his new life. Doran takes him back to the West Indies, and Equiano is horrified at the sight of Montserrat, because he is fearful of being sold into this "land of bondage.
Instead, he is purchased by Mr. Robert King, a "charitable and humane" Quaker merchant who employs him in a variety of positions, from loading boats to clerking and serving as a personal groom, in addition to occasionally hiring out Equiano"s services to other merchants p. Proud of being singled out, Equiano remarks that he "became so useful to the captain on shipboard, that. At this time, Equiano begins buying and selling goods and fruit and starts his own side trading enterprise during each voyage. Although he faces setbacks and insults from white buyers who refuse to pay for goods, use "bad coin," or demand fraudulent refunds, Equiano acquires a small amount of savings and is "determined to.
King encourages him in his entrepreneurial pursuits, proposing that when Equiano has saved enough money "to purchase my freedom. After briefly recounting a violent assault while trading in Savannah, Georgia, and his subsequent recovery and return to Montserrat, Equiano closes the first volume of the Interesting Narrative somewhat abruptly, noting that "This ended my adventures in ; for I did not leave Montserrat again till the beginning of the following year" p.
DocSouth has published a summary of the second volume of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, in which Equiano describes his life as a freeman, his adventures as a world-traveling tradesman, and his spiritual transformation. William L. While remaining largely objective, Equiano does seem to exhibit some nostalgia for his home. He also stresses, here, the cultural relativism of beauty. Related Quotes with Explanations. The common land was where people would go to till their crops, but they also often brought weapons, since the common land was where war took place.
War was usually meant to gain prisoners or goods, and it was a common means of obtaining slaves in Africa. Equiano describes the guns and swords used in such battles. Once he climbed a tree to witness a battle and saw a great deal of fighting before his people won and took the enemy chief prisoner; they later sentenced him to death and divided the spoils among the warriors.
Indeed, some of the slaves had slaves of their own.
Slavery in the way Equiano sketches it out here is part of an intercultural context of war and politics. Freedom and Slavery. When the sun crossed the horizon line the village would make a great celebration, as well as offerings of fruit or animals. But in addition to sketching a certain cosmology that is, an understanding of the universe on the part of a certain culture , Equiano also uses this description as an opportunity to paint a humanizing picture of his relationship to his mother.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano study guide contains a biography of Olaudah Equiano, literature essays, quiz. Oct 30, Rhetorical Analysis of Equiano, Olaudah “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African” Essay.
Priests calculated the time, foretold events, and served as doctors, healing wounds and countering poisoning. Indeed, the people were always careful about poison, and they held snakes as ominous though also as potentially good omens. Having lived in England for a number of years, and well-acquainted with the cultural traditions and knowledge of his readers, Equiano is able to make comparisons that would be relatable to this readership.
Again, this is not an idealized portrait of a simple, pastoral people, but rather one that underlines the vibrant cultural life, as well as the traditions particular to this people, of which Europeans would be largely ignorant. He refers to a scholar, Dr. Gill, who has traced the ancestry of Africans to Abraham. In England, the Jews were relatively more assimilated than elsewhere in Europe, but they also were discriminated against.
They preserved their own traditions—even while also sharing a common religious heritage with the Christian majority—thus proving a useful comparison for Equiano. Further oppressed by the burden of slavery, they are not treated as men. In one way, the comparison to the Jews allows Equiano to propose a common ancestry for his people, the Jews, and the Christians the Jews and Christians being tied by Abraham.
Here, though, he moves from speculating about such genealogies to making a forceful case against prejudice based on skin color.
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Slave Narrative Collection. Olaudah Equiano, or Gusta Vassa, wrote The interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gusta Vassa, the African in which told of his personal experiences with slavery from a rational, persuasive point of view, focusing on the religious aspects of Christianity, the worth of Africans and the brutally detrimental effects of the slave trade. How can we improve? His was shocked by his culture such that he used to wash his face to change his color. I was carried on board.