Professor Karen Gainey
2 November 2013
Grief, Anguish, and Pain Experienced by Olaudah Equiano
The Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano is a very descriptive narrative about Olaudah Equiano’s experiences of being of a slave. The narrative is very touching and heartfelt. I admire Olaudah Equiano for his strength, courage, and for being oppressed to so much pain. The kidnapping of Equiano and his sister, Equiano’s attempt to escape to freedom and the scene on the slave ship were the scenes that I found to be the most compelling. I found the kidnapping of Equiano and his sister to be one of the most compelling pieces of Equiano’s narrative, because I am a mother of a two year old and I think that has to be one of my greatest fears. While reading about the kidnapping, I felt like I was experiencing what it’s like to be kidnapped and what it’s like to be a parent whose kid had just been kidnapped. Whenever I hear that a child has been kidnapped, I always wonder “what is going through the child’s mind?”, “what are the kidnapper(s) doing to the child?”, and “how are the parents coping?” I think Equiano did a great of capturing the amount of grief and despair that a child goes through when they are kidnapped. Two of my favorite quotes that stuck out to me from the section were: “…being quite overpowered by fatigue and grief, our only relief was some sleep, which allayed our misfortune for a short time.”, and “ …the only comfort we had was in being in one another’s arms all that night, and bathing each other with our tears.” (Equiano 201) These quotes were particularly sorrowful because they painted a clear picture of how much anguish Equiano and his sister were in. After being kidnapped and unsuccessfully trying to signal for help, they found a slight bit of comfort of grieving together but, they were soon separated from each other which heightened the severity of the situation. When Equiano stated “she was torn from me” (201), I...
References: Equiano, Olaudah. "Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano." The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2004. 189-212. Print.
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