Slave narratives are written by African American people who manage to escape from slavery. They usually discuss political as well as religious problems using a rhetorical tone. This paper will argue that even though Douglass’s Narrative of The Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave and Equiano’s The Life of Olaudah Equiano are both written by male ex-slaves and have many similarities, yet their biographies have many differences as well.
On the one hand, Fredrick Douglass is born in slavery, this fact had a great impact on him. He never learned the importance of family bonds. He even see one of his aunts once gets beaten and could not interfere because he knew the troublesome consequences they would suffer from if he interferes. On the other hand, Equiano is born free. He had a very close relationship with both his mother and his sister. Being born free is one of the most valuable reasons that motivated him to search for his freedom. While Douglass tries to ...view middle of the document...
He even uses some scientist’s theories to prove that the white’s and the African American’s may be descendants of each other’s. Equiano wants the Europeans to acknowledge that ‘’ understanding is not confined to feature or color’’ (17) and that having different way of living and religions does not give one of them the right to claim that they are superior to the other.
In spite of all these differences between the two narratives, Douglass and Equiano had almost the same opinion of the whites. Even though Equiano at the beginning of his life thought that the African’s are mostly suffering from the cruelty of each other’s and not the whites, he reached a point when he changed his opinion and noticed that ‘’I had never seen among any people such instances of brutal cruelty; and this not only shewn towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves’’(27). Before moving on, it should be pointed out that both men tried to show how most of the Europeans try to keep them ignorant to guarantee their own superiority over them.
Most importantly, unlike Douglass, Equiano concentrates on the role and suffering of African women. He shows the important role they play in his native country. They work and ‘’boldly’’ fight side by side with men. They both dress in nearly the same way. He illustrates on the suffering of women by giving an example of one slave whom he had seen when he entered a house and she ‘’ was cooking the dinner, and the poor creature was cruelly loaded with various kinds of iron machines; she had one particularly on her head, which locked her mouth so fast that she could scarcely speak; and could not eat nor drink. I was much astonished and shocked at this contrivance, which I afterwards learned was called the iron muzzle’’ (32).
One concludes that, the two narratives of Douglass and Equiano draw an almost complete picture of slavery despite of their differences. Both pieces of writing are written from the perspective of male salves who seek physical and mental freedom.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative Of the Life Of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus 5 April Vassa. London, 1794.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative Of The life Of Frederic Douglass. Boston, 1845.