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Equiano, the Free Man.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Ashley Abboud Dr. Keegan English Literature II 5 December 2002 Equiano, the Free Man Black Trans-Atlantic writers tend to be placed into three categories such as American, British or African. Many of these authors fit nicely into such categories, and would believe that Equiano is just another African author. There in lies a problem, his writings do not reflect an African mentality, Equiano has made a category for himself, authors of the "free" category. In his autobiography, as do many other black Trans-Atlantic authors, he writes about the trouble and troubles faced in slavery. This is not the central motif of his autobiography, but rather a record of his work to earn his freedom. Through Equiano's narrative The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, this essay will illustrate Equiano's desire to be in a category all his own. His curiosity with the "white magic," helps him forge relationships with men aboard the ship and aids in his persual of education. Another aspect that gains Equiano freedom is his education which makes him a viable person in the "European world." His ability to trade and be trusted, gains him the money to buy his freedom. His inclusion of the letter of manumission at the end of his narrative, symbolizes his idea of earned freedom. Finally the title alone speaks for itself. These instances through interpretation, argue that Equiano does not fit in any of these categories, although an African, he is writing as a "free man," wanting nothing but to be noted as free and to escape the persona of a slave. ...read more.

Middle

This idea of Equiano being an open canvass encourages Europeans to teach him, due to the fact that they want to be the first brush stroke on Equiano. He encourages this learning by being so eager and obliging, which makes his strive for learning a focus of the Europeans. Equiano's ability to gain trust was another important aspect in the narrative. This ability gave him the opportunity to trade which in turn earned him money. Being able to have his own money put him in a situation in which he did not have to rely on anyone else for finical security, therefore, making him free of dependence. Trust also helped procure an agreement with his master to gain his manumission paper. These two aspects are important for many reasons to Equiano's. First with the ability to trade on the side, Equaino has established himself as a reputable tradesman. Meaning, even though he was a slave, he was not regarded as such with the people he traded with. This notes Equiano's mentality, he is confident with himself as a man not as a slave. Trustworthiness was what helped Equiano gain the agreement with his master to obtain his freedom. If his master did not trust him Equiano would never be considered man enough to be free. He would not be considered human. The agreement alone and his master's opinion of him signifies to Equiano's readers that Equiano is in a category all his own. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince, Ottabah Cugoano refers to himself as a "Native of Africa in his narration, these authors incorporate these titles into their narrations in order to distinguish themselves as slaves, or other descriptive terms. Equiano has nothing of the sort in his title, Equiano wants his readers to see himself as a man who "journeys all over the world, thereby gaining knowledge and education that make possible the great work of his life: the writing of his autobiography," (Costanzo, 46). Black Trans-Atlantic writers tend to be placed into three categories such as American, British or African. The problem with this is that Equiano does not fit into any category, his writings do not reflect an African mentality. Although his autobiography includes the problems of slavery it was not the central theme, but rather a record of his work to earn his freedom. His curiosity with the "white magic," helps him forge relationships with men aboard the ship and aids in his persual of education. Another aspect that gains Equiano freedom is his education which makes him a viable person in the "European world." His ability to trade and be trusted, gains him the money to buy his freedom. His inclusion of the letter of manumission at the end of his narrative, symbolizes his idea of earned freedom. Finally the title alone speaks for itself. These instances through interpretation, argue that Equiano does not fit in any of these categories, although an African, he is writing as a "free man," wanting nothing but to be noted as free and to escape the persona of a slave. ...read more.

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