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The Effect Of Slave Trade Represented By Life Of Olaudah Equiano By Gustavas Vassc

698 words - 3 pages

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, recounts the story of a child who is born in West Africa, but is kidnapped and thrown into a Western world completely foreign to him. Equiano is a slave for a total of ten years and endeavors to take on certain traits and customs of Western thinking. Not only is it an in-depth account of his life in enslavement and as a freedman, but also it is the first autobiography to ever be published by a former slave and becomes apart of a broader Humanitarian Revolution. It is during the eighteenth-century, in the awake of the Enlightenment movement that new concepts are created; concepts such as: human rights, equality, progress, and tolerance.1 These concepts are what lead the success of Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, and point to a larger transition in European views about slavery in the last decades of the eighteenth century.
Before it’s publication, many Europeans had no idea the traveling conditions of the slaves. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died, thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.1 Equiano's writing on the Middle Passage is the section of the work most likely to end up in anthologies for history and literature classes. It is a profoundly evocative and devastating account of one of the most terrible events in human history: the forcible removal of millions of Africans from their home, and their subsequent transportation across the Atlantic in slave ships, under the most abominable and hellish conditions imaginable. Equiano's...

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