Struggles Olaudah Equiano Had to Go Through Depicted in His Own Autobiography

April 22, 2021 by Essay Writer

Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography illustrates many of the cruel conditions slaves were forced to endure in the 1700’s. Equiano was at a young age when he was kidnapped and separated from his family into slavery.

At the start of his slave journey, Equiano was oppressed by local Africans that treated him as if he were one of their peers. Although the slave life he experienced on the continent differed widely with each master he came across, it came nowhere near the cruel, violent, and traumatic experience he was exposed to on the ship ride to the West Indies. Equiano first observed the white slave owners on the ship and was surprised at their intentional wastefulness; despite the fact that there was a large number of hungry individuals underneath deck. The white slave owner’s behavior towards their hostages was greedy, brutal, and corrupted.

Equiano puts in great detail the terrible traveling conditions the slaves had to undergo, giving the reader the perspective of his confused, juvenile eyes that wondered how people can act so cold towards other human beings. When the ship arrives in Barbados, Equiano describes the process of being chosen by a master as some sort of crazy black friday sale. The masters were the customers, and the slaves were the items the masters had to race to get the best one to purchase. When a signal is given, all the masters rush to the slaves to choose the most fit one they think will work best. Families that were once united in the comfort of their homes, were now being separated and sold off to brutal working and living conditions. Equiano presents a picture of slavery that is horrendous to imagine.

He has been cut off from his family and taken to Barbados, an island acclaimed for its brutality towards Africans. There, the future of slaves plunged as they were liable to the most savage conduct from their white masters. Female slaves, including young girls, were assaulted. Slave bodies were damaged and brutalized. Everything the slaves owned was liable to seize from whites, and any endeavor made to get their stuff back never worked, as they had no rights. Equiano also takes a difference stance on slavery- he doesn’t despise it exclusively in light of the fact that it persecutes him, but because it was just pure evil. He writes about the unfair Barbados Slave Code that later became the model for the colonies when they established slavery.

Despite the fact that Equiano is an observer to these instances of severity and foul play, he doesn’t endure too much brutally, because of the considerate Robert King. It is from this model Equiano shapes his finding: individuals work more diligently when they are well-treated, as he accomplished for the King.


Read more