The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African

by Gustavas Vassa
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How does Olaudah Equiano's "The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano" use language to demonstrate the author's purpose?

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The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano is an early example of an antislavery narrative, one which circulated among abolitionists and opponents of the slavery trade in the Atlantic World during the early nineteenth century. Therefore he uses evocative language to illustrate the horrors of the slave trade and of slavery itself.

The book is full of examples of this. Early in his account of his kidnapping by Europeans, he notes that he believed that the "white men with horrible looks, red faces, and loose hair" planned to eat him. He describes the "brutal cruelty" of the slavers, even toward some of their own crew. Like others who endured the horrors of the Middle Passage, he remembers the "loathsome smells" belowdecks and is haunted by the "shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying," even recounting young children falling into troughs of filth. He wrote of a young woman whose face was covered with a bizarre iron mask that kept her from eating or drinking, and throughout,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 898 words.)

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