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The Interesting Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano:

1101 words - 5 pages

Slavery was an issue for centuries in America. There were always those against it and those for it. Thomas Jefferson attempted to confront the issue in his draft of the Declaration of Independence. His part was written in The Autobiography. However, Congress removed the section because of their unwillingness to take a stand against the travesty. They did not wish to cause a problem between states even before the country was even created. On the other hand, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano gives a detailed firsthand account of the feelings and thoughts of a newly enslaved person. It is a life full of uncertainty, fear, and misery. This connects to the reader and is ...view middle of the document...

He said, “I now wished for my last friend, death, to relieve me” (Appleman et al. 85). This would be persuasive for an argument for freedom because if it is bad enough where people are wishing death upon themselves then obviously freedom is a better option than slavery. Not only were the conditions appalling, Equiano was perplexed about why he was on the ship. He said, “I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner” (Appleman et al. 86). He was also unsure about basic things like drinking water, the workings of the ship, and “flying fish” (Appleman et al. 88). The uncertainty and conditions of the trip across the Atlantic had to take tolls on the slaves. The firsthand account of Equiano provides a good argument for freedom because of its insight into the life of a slave during the Middle Passage.
Another reason why Equiano’s piece would provide a better argument for freedom than Jefferson’s work is that the reader would be able to connect more with Equiano’s feelings and experiences compared to Jefferson’s thoughts on the topic. The personal pains that Equiano experiences in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano are shared with the reader. A reader can identify with being sick enough that they couldn’t eat from a smell. Then Equiano had to spend of his time in a place that is like that. The smell wasn’t the only issue in the living quarters. There was disease and sickness, too. Equiano was so sick and weak during a part of the journey that the white sailors did not need to chain him. Being very ill is another situation a reader could relate to and empathize the slaves for. Equiano, however, was happy about being sick because he could have a break from the ungodly conditions below the deck and he was also excited for the possibility of death that the sickness provided. The views expressed in Jefferson’s piece may have been valid, but they were impersonal and much generalized, compared to the details of the horrors of slavery provided by Equiano. A reader would be able to link with the reading more when there is a person...

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