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Literature on Slavery - Book Report/Review Example

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Literature on Slavery

It is more than a mere narration of personal experience of being a slave. The story revolves around Equiano, the main character of the story. It is not only about the slavery, but it is about Equiano who turned his life of slave to his advantage and attained such a respectable position in the world which can be least expected from a slave. We can also observe that slavery was a boon in disguise for him. Had he not been abducted and became a slave, he would have never crossed the boundaries of his remotest village. And he would never have learnt anything, which he got to learn as a slave. This story is the account of the first ten years of his life. This book was published in the eighteenth century in the year 1789. After this book was published, the British Parliament had taken a serious note of it and had debated abolishing of slave trade. Thus we can say that this book has the extracts of that debate. It has detailed accounts of the observations of Equiano as a small child and then as a young person. The author has very well brought the difference in observations of a small child and then as a grownup, matured and learned young man. We have certain impressions in our mind before reading a slave autobiography. That means we least expect the language to be so polished and so correct when we think in terms of it being used by an African slave. While reading this narrative we are pleasantly surprised with the impeccable use of language, written with so much decency. In this book, he narrates the story of his life right from his birth, when he was born in the year 1745 in an area called 'Eboe' in Guinea. Equiano was the youngest son of a village leader, born among the Ibo people in the kingdom of Benin, along the Niger River. He was the greatest favorite of his mother. His family expected him to follow his father's footsteps and become a chief, an elder, and a judge. Slavery was an integral part of the Ibo culture, as it was with many other African people. Although his father held a strong and authoritative position in his village, there was a continual threat of being abducted and of being enslaved. And this fear of theirs of being abducted and enslaved turned out to be a reality. One day, while all the family members were out on work and Equiano and his little sister were left to take care of the house, he and his sister were abducted by two men and a woman. Equiano had a ray of hope that despite of being abducted and separated from his family, he at least had a chance to live along with his dear sister. But his hope turned out to be despair when after several days Equiano and his sister were separated. Equiano continued to travel far away from home, day after day, month after month, exchanging masters along the way. During his travel from one place to the other and from one family to the other, Equiano had good and bad experiences. He also experienced and learnt about the different lifestyles and cultures of people. He saw many things, which he was not able to see when he was staying in his village. Some families treated Equiano very kindly, almost as a part of the family. He missed his parents, his village and his family a lot and he once made an unsuccessful attempt to run away from his master's home. But very soon he realized that it was impossible for him to travel such a huge distance way back home. Thus he chose to go back to his master. Despite of his attempt to escape, his master did not punish him and saw to it that he was not ill treated. But this kind ...Show more


The novel "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African" was written by Olaudah Equiano in the eighteenth century. As the name suggests, this narrative is truly interesting and has many remarkable facts associated with it…
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Literature on Slavery essay example
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