HIST 361 SU The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano Essay

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HIST 361

Syracuse University



6 Hours for 5 page paper

HIST 361/AFAM 361

Essay 1 Prompt (5pgs; Double-spaced 12pt Times New Roman)

In his 1789 autobiography, former captive Olaudah Equiano recounted his struggles in bondage and freedom. His account begins in West Africa, spans the Atlantic, culminates in the Americas, and traverses the globe engaging audiences in Europe and the U.S. What was Equiano’s purpose in composing his narrative? How does he use his book to advance that purpose (be specific)? Use relevant and specific details and examples from the book to answer these questions.

In-text citations should be used to cite examples, quotes, etc. from the book. Be sure to include a bibliographic citation at the end of your paper to clarify the book edition you used for the essay. For assistance, see: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html

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Explanation & Answer

As such, I wrote another one, where I had paraphrased the quotes, here it is.


Olaudah Equiano’s Journey


The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavo Vassa, The
African, is inarguably one of the most well-documented literature on the earliest slavery
encounters by Africans. More specifically, the memoir employs a slavery narrative that
transcends the spiritual and travel stories articulated to encapsulate all non-trivial encounters
of Olaudah Equiano in his enslavement. The period that the book covers is critical in not only
modern history on slavery but also understanding the impacts of his book on his cause as well
as the ultimate demise of the practice. Equiano outlines his book in four major themes that
help detail his experience as a slave. First, he talks about slavery in West Africa and
compares it to that in the Americas—this helps explicate the relationships and vital
distinctions between slavery in the two regions. Second, Equiano outlines his journey through
his Africa-to-America through England slaver’s voyage. Further, the autobiography narrates
the cross-cultural and geopolitical journey of the author from slavery to freedom. Lastly, the
memoir covers the crucial beneficiaries of institutional slavery and its impacts on the people
of color. In effect, Equiano’s purpose in composing his narrative is threefold: shedding light
on the underlying factors leading to slavery in America; depicting the slave’s journey from
Africa to America, and shedding light on the impacts of slavery on people of color.
Factors Leading to Slavery
In the second chapter of his book, Equiano narrates how he and his sister were
kidnapped and the factors that led to the capture. During this time, they are both children and
he joins his master, a chieftain, for about a month. Equiano explains that the livelihood after
his initial enslavement proves to be challenging not only to him but also to other slave
children an...

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