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Examine the experiences of capture in the narratives of Venture Smith and Oluadah...

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jakande | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted June 14, 2013 at 12:35 AM via web

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Examine the experiences of capture in the narratives of Venture Smith and Oluadah Equiano. 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 14, 2013 at 1:09 AM (Answer #1)

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The original question had to be edited.  The use of violence as a way to ensure the capture of slaves is a shared connection between both Smith and Equiano's experience.  Equiano describes how the perpetrators entered into his village and with them, violence was not far behind:

One day, when all our people were gone out to their works as usual, and only I and my dear sister were left to mind the house, two men and a woman got over our walls, and in a moment seized us both; and, without giving us time to cry out, or make resistance, they stopped our mouths, and ran off with us into the nearest wood. Here they  tied our hands, and continued to carry us as far as they could, till night came on, when we reached a small house, where the robbers halted for refreshment, and spent the night.

Violence is an essential part of the capture narrative that Equiano experienced.  This same aspect of violence is seen in Venture Smith's narrative.  It is striking how the experiences are from different people, yet filled with the same elements of terror and violence from White businessmen:

They then came to us in the reeds, and the very first salute I had from them was a violent blow on the head with the fore part of a gun, and at the same time a grasp round the neck. I then had a rope put about my neck, as had all the women in the thicket with me, and were immediately led to my father, who was likewise pinioned and haltered for leading.

Violence becomes the shared element in both narratives.  It is the violence that was intrinsic to the institution of slavery, started in the experience of capture.

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