Essay on The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano
850 Words4 Pages
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano
The narrative by Olaudah Equiano gives an interesting perspective of slavery both within and outside of Africa in the eighteenth century. From these writings we can gain insight into the religion and customs of an African culture. We can also see how developed the system of trade was within Africa, and worldwide by this time. Finally, we hear an insider's view on being enslaved, how slaves were treated in Africa, and what the treatment of African slaves was like at the hands of the Europeans.
Olaudah spends a good part of the narrative acquainting the reader with the customs of his people. He describes the importance of hygiene to his people. Their overall health and vigor was…show more content…
They seemed, if we take him at his word, to be a friendly and civilized people. As he put it "cheerfulness and affability are two of the leading characteristics of our nation."
The village economy was particularly interesting, and Olaudah's descriptions are very revealing. His people needed guns because other villages had them. The guns were brought to Africa by the Europeans, who used them to trade. (That the Europeans both supplied and fulfilled this need bears mention.) Olaudah states that he had never seen a European; his people traded with wandering merchants who acted as middlemen. These middlemen traded guns for potash, which they probably used in trade again elsewhere. Later in his life Olaudah also saw iron pots, crossbows, and European cutlasses among African people. This clearly illustrates the trade that developed between coastal tribes and Europeans, and the existence of middlemen who worked along established trade routes.
There is also evidence of the "Columbian Exchange" in this writing: the crops that Olaudah mentions his people raised. He says that they grew corn and tobacco, These crops were unknown in Afroeurasia before Columbus returned from the "New World" barely two hundred and fifty years earlier. These two crops traveled from the Western Hemisphere via very indirect trade routes, over a period of many years. They became staples in a rural village miles from the African coast. This shows the level of sophistication in
The Interesting Narrative Life of Olaudah Equiano and Amistad
604 Words3 Pages
CoMpArE and CoNtRaSt
Both, “The Interesting Narrative Life of Olaudah Equiano” and “Amistad” are important stories about slavery in pre-civil war america because they both address the issues of slavery. These gentlemen in the story made a difference in the slave trade. In “The life of Olaudah Equiano”, Olaudah was sold on a slave ship that came to the Barbados. Olaudah worked for his freedom, and in the end became efficient in American language. He worked his way to the free life and in the end it worked out for him, although it leaves scars on his soul. In “Amistad”, Cinque is a slave that leads a revolt on a slave ship after escaping. When they get to america, Baldwin, a…show more content…
Cinque also learned only a few words, as opposed to the whole american language, which Olaudah did. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” focuses more on the harsh conditions on the slave ships while the “Amistad” story spends more time on the trial that set the slave free. Olaudah Equiano fought against slavery in England while Cinque and the Africans of the Amistad became a symbol of freedom for the abolitionist movement in Pre-Civil War America.
In conclusion, both “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” and “Amistad” are important stories that thoughtfully comment on the slavery issue. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” points out the harsh conditions on the slave ships. The story of “Amistad”, African slaves and the trials they had to go through highlights the injustice of slavery. As Adams said “The natural state of mankind is instead-and I know this is a