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Why does Equiano blame the illness aboard the ship on the "improvident avarice" of the...

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bradgirls3 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2009 at 4:57 AM via web

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Why does Equiano blame the illness aboard the ship on the "improvident avarice" of the traders?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:03 AM (Answer #1)

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The word "improvident" means "short-sighted" and "avarice" means greed.

So what Equiano is saying is that the slave traders were so greedy that they didn't think about the long term -- just about the short term.  In this case, what that means is that they packed too many slaves into the ships because they wanted to make as much money as possible.

Because they did this, the living conditions for the slaves were terrible and many of them became sick.  This was improvident because it didn't really take into account how much money the slave traders would lose by having the slaves be in bad condition when the time came to sell them (or how much they'd lose by having slaves die along the way).

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parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:09 PM (Answer #2)

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He believed that by squeezing all the slaves onto the ships, they would become sick more easily, and therefore, the amount saved on space for the slaves would be smaller than the amount lost for the sick slaves.

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