English 328: Equiano (Blog Post)

Choose a favorite sentence from The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano.  Then perform a 50-word close reading of that sentence, paying close attention to the language of the text.  Please respond by 3:15 pm on 10/20/22.

9 thoughts on “English 328: Equiano (Blog Post)

  1. Regarding Equiano’s understanding of how the white men could sail the ships, and make them stop and go: ‘I was exceedingly amazed at this account, and really thought they were spirits’.

    The term ‘amazed’ generally connotes a positive form of awe or surprise, and the use of ‘exceedingly’ tells the reader that this discovery created a stronger emotion than usual. It suggests some childlike wonder, and this is further demonstrated when he (as a child) truly believed the white men to be ‘spirits’. It suggests the men were supernatural; Equiano could not believe that a living being could have the power to have more control over the ships than the ocean’s current.

  2. ” I was astonished at the wisdom of the white people in all things I saw, but was amazed at their not sacrificing, or making any offerings, and eating with unwashed hands, and touching of the dead”(48).
    Equiano, talking about himself, was mentioning how he was astonished, meaning surprised or shocked by a large amount. The things he was shocked about were white people and their wisdom, meaning intelligence, and understanding and how they presented themselves to Equiano, and how Equiano observed their behavior and actions. He said “in all things I saw,” meaning he has seen a lot but there was nothing to compare what he saw with these white people. All of the specific traits he was describing in these white people were spiritual and religion-related, and these traits are usually looked down upon, such as eating with dirty hands and touching the dead, which are not normal things we hear every day. So when Equiano saw these things not happening, he was shocked, describing himself as astonished.

  3. “Many a time we were near suffocation from the want of fresh air, which we were often without for whole days together.” (42).
    In this sentence that Equiano states ‘many a time’ where many people nowadays would use ‘many times’. The use of the word suffocation means being stuffed in a tight space with limited amount of air leaving you. The usage of the words ‘whole days’ means that this situation would happen all day, every day.
    This sentence tells of one of the struggles Equiano would go through, being a slave, escorted to England. It points out the description of what it was like being in a slave ship, of how uncomfortable it would be and how limited their air would be from day to day.

  4. “Generally when the grown people in the neighborhood were gone far in the fields to labor, the children assembled together in some of the neighbors’ premises to play; and commonly some of us used to get up a tree to look out for any assailant, or kidnapper, that might come upon us; for they sometimes took those opportunities of our parents’ absence to attack and carry off as many as they could seize.” (Pg. 55)
    I found this passage to be very eye-opening to the struggles and daily activites the children had to live with that we wouldnt find “normal”. The normality of having one of your peers climb into a tree to lookout for someone who could be coming to your group of friends to either kidnapp you or assault you or potentially hurt you, is something I would never think to do. The other shock I recieved was the fact that the adults in this community continued their day to day work while their children were left unattended, which then requires the children to lookout for themselves.

  5. “My life had lost its relish when liberty was gone.”

    this quote really stuck out to me because of the word choice. I wanted to define the most important ones being liberty and relish. Relish meaning great enjoyment and liberty meaning
    the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. I really liked this sentence because I felt that it was one that most people could understand or relate to in some aspect of their life. It described how the enjoyment of life is gone once his freedom to make his own decisions had been taken away. The use of saying that liberty “was gone” explains that it’s not how it always was. That perhaps there was a time when that freedom and liberty was much more available but it ‘was gone’ so the relish ‘was lost’. He had both but now he had neither.

  6. “ He prayed for me, and I believed that he prevailed on my behalf, as my burden was then greatly removed, and I found a heartfelt resignation to the will of God.”

    This quote has a lot to with believing in a faith and even God himself. The quote begins with “He” following with “me” or “my”. This can be putting God first and we are more of a follower to him than anything else. A lot of this sentence follows that structure and puts into this idea of how people are strong believers in this faith. In addition, it ends with “God”, so the sentence begins and starts with God. In the middle of the sentence can be seen as us however God is there from the start and end.

  7. The quote that spoke to me was “But is not the slave trade entirely at war with the heart of man?” (P. 110). The word choice of slave trade here is more direct than in other parts of the book, as he is now talking about the entire disturbing system, rather than just his story. By describing the conflict, as ‘at war’ with the human heart, he is validating these new, and eye opening feelings that the reader back then was likely experiencing. It does not place blame on the reader for being unaware of the atrocities, instead it shows them they should be actively against the idea and actions that occur within slavery.

  8. “As our manners are simple, our luxuries are few. The dress of both sexes is nearly the same.” (pg 22)
    I found this quote very interesting and, as I started looking deeper into it it got more interesting. Starting with use and repetition of the word “our.” Equiano is talking about a collective group by using the word “our.” Then Equiano is talking about how their manners are simple. So this is saying they don’t have many things to make life easy but they have enough to survive. Lastly when Equiano goes into the clothing. Much like the manners being simple so is the clothing that both genders wear. Since life is hard during this time people can’t be focusing on things such as style or clothing.

  9. I found that, both after my reading of the text and the blog posts of my peers, a quote on page 110 seemed to speak in a very deep and grave manner to me “is the slave trade not entirely at war with the heart of man?” It is a gravid, bold claim, recognizing what is wrong despite many powerful individuals, entire countries even, partaking in such crimes against humanity at the time. It is so simple and clear that slavery is a drastic perversion of the human condition, and in a world where such is commonplace, it takes much heart to speak out and say that this is wrong.

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