Equiano Slave Narrative Summary
Choose two passages in Equiano’s life narrative. For each, write a paragraph that explains what sort of argument you think it might carry. How might this episode or passage convince a reader to look at Equiano, or at his situation? To support your point, you should include a few quotations from the passage and discuss each quotation, explaining what you think is significant about it.
In the second paragraph of chapter two, Equiano reveals to us that even before the white man had come, slavery was something that was practiced in African society. People were not born as slaves they were forced into slavery by being stolen and sold to lands far away from their homes so that they can never return. This was the reason as to why even when they played, children were warned of unwanted intruders who might come to steal them and take them away. In the passage, he says “two men and a woman got over the wall and seized us before we could cry out”. In this passage we get to know that slavery is not a thing that started with the white man, it was a trade that the white man found in existence when he went to explore in Africa.
The only thing the white man did was make an already existing trade to become international. The passage also takes us through how he was exchanged from one master to another before he could reach the coast where he was sold to the white man. His main point in this passage is that even though we blame the white man for slavery, it was not the white man who snatched him from his village. It was people who spoke the same language as him. As much as Africans blame the white man for enslaving them, they should start by blaming their fellow tribesmen for selling them off in the first place.
The other passage is in chapter three where he talks of having met a young man a few years older than him on a ship that was transporting him to England, his name was Robert Baker. He grew fond of the young man and the feeling according to him was mutual. At this point, he had started to learn a bit of English and Robert taught him more of it. He taught the famous gentleman etiquette. They would sit and talk for hours about anything.
To him, he had already found a best friend and a brother. This was the reason that upon his death he was filled with sorrow as no other white man had treated him so kindly and so well regardless of the differences in the skin color. He clearly states that “the friendship we shared was well cemented till death…… and he was not afraid to be the friend of, be associated with one f a different complexion, a slave”.
This means that even during the time when black people were viewed as inferior in all aspects, humanity still took a toll on the white people as some of them found themselves befriending the black people. This shows that humanity goes beyond the current beliefs that people have.
From the two passages, it is clear that just because someone is of the same complexion as you and is your tribe’s man doesn’t mean that he is your friend. He can easily sell off into slavery and away from your family. However, differences in complexion do not mean that people cannot become friends or even brother while far away from their homeland.
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