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Paper 1 – The Life Of Olaudah Equiano Essay

1116 words - 5 pages

African Diaspora
Throughout this narrative, we see the concept of Christianity constantly expanding and forming a deeper connection to Equiano’s identity throughout his journey. He uses Christianity as a direct correlation to his freedom and also as a reference to the answer of all questions. This makes one wonder, if Equiano already had a belief system in place in his native land why is it that Christianity is the belief system he felt was the way to freedom?
In the first chapter, we get the background of where Equiano is from: Eboe, in the kingdom of Benin. In his kingdom (Essaka) we learn of his customs and beliefs. As he goes through his list of customs you definitely see a sense of pride. He talks about the abundance of his land “Our land is uncommonly rich and fruitful, and produces all kinds of vegetables in great abundance…… All our industry is exerted to improve those blessings of nature” (Equiano 51). This is just a chunk out of the long list of customs that Equiano goes through. He talks about the cleanliness of his people, how there are no beggars amongst his people and how they live a simple and plain life.
In this chapter we also get a run down of the belief systems, “As to religion, the natives believe that there is one Creator of all things, and that he lives in the sun... They believe he governs events, especially our deaths or captivity; but as for the doctrine of eternity, I do not remember to have ever heard of it: some however believe in the transmigration of souls in a certain degree” (Equiano 57). He gives a memory of how he would go with his mother as she performed libations to her mother and how he found the whole scene to be gloomy, dark and gave him a sense of terror. I feel it is important to take note that he explains there is no absolute to eternity in the religion of his native land and how as he converts to Christianity, he seems to be obsessed with that concept. He is concerned of what will become of him in the afterlife.
In Chapter three, Equiano is in Virginia on a ship and has been traded around plenty up to this point and grew more miserable with each trade up until “the kind and unknown hand of the Creator now began to appear, to my comfort…” (Equiano 112). Equiano was purchased by a merchant ship captain named Michael Henry Pascal. He purchased Equiano as a gift to some friends in England. The amount of food on the ship grew scarce and this led him to fear for his life in belief that he would be eaten/sacrificed due to the captain jokingly stating that it would be the case if there was no food left. He made a close friend on board however with a Native American by the name of Richard Baker (a.k.a Dick). He speaks highly of him and his lack of prejudice. The two of them end up being hip to hip and he addresses him as his friend, instructor and a true companion. His friend dies in the year of 1759, which brings Equiano much sorrow and he brings up the memory of being fearful of both...

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