• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Historical Accuracy in Equiano's Novel

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jessica Rodriguez Moton and Paradise English 21 4 May 2005 Historical Accuracy in Equiano's Novel Olaudah Equiano's autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, has become a very important piece of literature. Equiano established a new type of literature with this novel. It was the first autobiography/slave narrative ever written. Many other slaves, such as Fredrick Douglass, followed his example in writing autobiographies or slave narratives. Equiano not only gives detailed descriptions of his homeland, of which we still know little about, he also gives a powerful account of the Middle Passage. Despite these captivating accounts, many critics have come to question the authenticity of Equiano's history. Many do not believe that he was the man he claimed to be. Although there is some evidence to suggest this, there is not enough to discredit Equiano's accounts. Equiano's autobiography offers a powerful and truthful account of the author's history, and his experiences with the slave trade and the Middle Passage. Despite the critics' accusations, Equiano's novel is historically accurate. Olaudah Equiano was born in the southern part of Nigeria known as Isseke (or Essaka) in the year 1745. ...read more.

Middle

He states of the slave ship, "and I was now persuaded that I had got into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me" (34). He relates the "shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying" as a "scene of horror almost inconceivable" (38). Equiano's description of this event is of great importance because it was the really the first time that the Middle Passage had been recorded by someone who actually experienced it. These descriptions, however, do not go without criticism. Vincent Carretta, a professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, claims that Equiano's descriptions of Africa and the Middle Passage closely resemble those of American and European writers (96). Equiano surely consulted other works to recollect his distant memories. According to Angelo Costanzo, Equiano's descriptions of Africa came partly from the "ideas he read about and ... the knowledge he acquired from a lifetime of experience" (56). Equiano was young when he traveled the Middle Passage and it was a terrifying and traumatic experience. It is possible that he did not understand all that went on while aboard the ship. He claims that his "ignorance of what [he] was to undergo" was increased by the many horrors he witnessed (Equiano 35). ...read more.

Conclusion

It has been claimed that he invented this persona in Rodriguez 5 hopes of doing so. Of course, Equiano hoped that his story would help influence the abolishment of the slave trade; however, this desire and motivation should not discredit Equiano. He saw the opportunity to possibly make a difference for thousands of people and he seized the moment. This novel is one of great importance and controversy. This novel continues to be treated as a valuable and historical piece of literature, yet it is still scrutinized. While it is evident that the critics have not proven the inaccuracy of this account, it is also clear that this debate is far from over. Regardless of this debate, the importance of the novel remains. This memoir brought about several new concepts to literature, especially for the African-American. It provided information in a way that readers had never experienced. The first hand account of these horrible events provide the reader with many conflicting feelings. At this time, there was much debate over the abolishment of slave trade and this novel helped to eventually bring all slavery to an end. Equiano was never able to witness the fruits of his hard labor, but he did not quit fighting for what he believed in until the very end. Olaudah Equiano is a historically accurate novel worthy of being treated as a viable piece of literature. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Thucydides' historical technique.

    25 percent of Thucydides' entire text is made up of speeches, thus showing the importance attached to them. I have said before that Thucydides does not use drama within his history, and he himself says it in the famous (I 22): "And it may well be that my history will

  2. The Impacts of crusades on European and Middle Eastern Historical development.

    Oldenbourg writes, " bound to the soil as farmer, shepherd, and hunter, the medieval peasants lived to the rhythm of the season...Medieval Society and society before the Crusades in particular was divided into clearly defined classes and the society offered little to no possibility to escape" (Oldenbourg, The Crusades, p.

  1. Olaudah Equiano. Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) was kidnapped from his African village at the ...

    As a major voice in this movement, Equiano petitioned the Queen of England in 1788. He was appointed to the expedition to settle London's poor Blacks in Sierra Leone, a British colony on the west coast of Africa. Sadly, he did not complete the journey back to his native land.

  2. Investigating the distribution of Pleurococcus on tree trunks.

    2 = 12.2 57.5 S = (48 - 57.5) 2 = 1.6 39.8 = X2 57.5 CHI - Square number E = (75 - 57.5) 2 = 5.3 57.5 W = (23 - 57.5) 2 = 20.7 57.5 Because 39.8 is less than 7.81 is distribution of algae is NON random.

  1. War experiences

    Barbed wire surrounded the trench and if soldiers got tangled in it they becoming easy targets for enemy bullets. You see death was never far away in the trenches. In my time in the trenches I have seen a good many men killed on their first day in the trench

  2. Frederick Douglass(TM)s Voice for Abolition

    This shows the hardship of being a slave because a slave as to learn to take care of his/herself at the beginning of life. He gives several cases of slave brutality in which he uses to invoke sad emotions from his audience.

  1. How Important is the Knowledge of a Works Historical content in Understanding it?

    By the end of the chapter the two authors have discussed both sides to the argument in detail and then, basically, leaves it to the reader to make their own conclusion. Rushdie, Salman, Shame, 1985 I found this book through an essay written by Christine Brooke-Rose, it is not written

  2. Amelia Earhart Autobiography.

    On May 20, 1932, I took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and due to technical difficulties landed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland making me the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Between 1930 and 1935, I set seven women's speed and distance aviation records in a variety of aircraft.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work