Equiano's Travels is a diary of tears and lamentation in african literature, discussExperience of lamentation in Equiano's Travels

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

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In my mind, the lamentation that is detected in Equiano's autobiography strikes at the heart of why slavery exists.  I think that African literature, and probably most literature from the nations that experienced what it meant to be colonized, speaks to the condition of "why us?"  Along those lines, there is a dominant strain of questioning what conditions allowed these particular nations to be dominated at the hands of the West.  Indeed, I think that this is part of Equiano's lamentation in that there is a notable abhorrence of slavery as an institution.  When Gates argues that Equiano's work served as a model for Frederick Douglass, one can see how the African predicament is quite similar to the African- American one in dealing with the reality of slavery, subjugation, as well as political and personal cruelty.  In this light, the concept of lamentation can be seen as a worldwide one questioning the structure of colonialism and its impact on "the other."