Equiano As I learned about slavery in the past and present I know that slavery is a bad thing and shouldn’t be happening. However it wasn’t until I read the book written by Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative that I learned how slavery really was. Just like before, I am against slavery and Equiano has the same opinion which both of ours are the same. Equiano is against slavery because slaves were treated so badly that Equiano in particular would have rather died than become a slave. Also Equiano is against slavery because families are torn apart and the members never see each other again.
As if that wasn’t enough, Equiano has the strongest argument against slavery because he believes it violates the Natural rights of mankind of which equality and independency is the first right. In chapter five, Equiano tells us how he has been traded many of times and is out right sick of it and wants nothing to do with slavery. When he left Montserrat he described his feelings right after he was brought off the boat after a long trip. “At the sight of this land of bondage, a fresh horror ran through all my frame, and chilled me to the heart.
My former slavery now rose in dreadful reviews to my mind, and displayed nothing but misery, stripes, and chains; and, in the first paroxysm of my grief, I called upon God’s thunder, and his avenging power, to direct the stroke of death to me, rather than permit me to become a slave, and to be sold from lord to lord. ” (Equiano: 98) This statement that he had made makes you realize how badly treated they were, because I have not experienced anything in my life to date which makes me wish I would die.
Among the slaves other than Equiano himself, im sure they all felt the same way. And while reading his book he makes mention of how he doesn’t have it so bad while working for particular lords but makes it known he was lucky to be in that position. (Equiano: Chapter 5) The second reason why Equiano is again slavery is because families are torn apart by the people who enslave these people and they never see each other again because they go in separate directions and are sold to different people. … it is not uncommon to see taken from their wives, wives taken from their husbands, and children from their parents, and sent off to other islands, and wherever else their merciless lords choose; and probably never more during life see each other! ” (Equiano: 110). Equiano talked about how he witness how slaves were traded and how some were weighted and sold by the pound like a pieces of deli meat. He explains how the ones being sold this way were taken from families, where they left behind loved ones and siblings, which is very sad.
Just think about one of your parents taken away from you all of a sudden knowing you will never see them ever again. This is how many families felt when members and siblings were taken and put into slavery. (Equiano: Chapter 5) Equiano’s last powerful statement against slavery is the violation of these people’s rights. “Surely this traffic cannot be good, which spreads like a pestilence, and taints what it touches! Which violates that first natural right of mankind, equality and independency, and gives one man a dominion over his fellows which God could never intend! (Equiano: 111). When we are born in the United States we start off with rights which are protected by law. Unfortunately these people have no such laws which practically made slavery legal as Equiano and others found out. Human beings should never be forced to answer to anybody but their God. Like Equiano found through his life, people should be able to be independent, and not be treated any differently than anybody else.
All rights the slaves had as an individual and as a human being were stripped away without regard or remorse which goes against what humans stand for. (Equiano: Chapter 5) So, overall you see that three of the strongest statements from Equiano backup his argument against slavery and that nobody should have to put up with it. While being a slave himself, Equiano would have rather died than continue being a slave because it stripped him of all rights as a human being. Not only did his rights get violated but other slaves lost their family to never see them ever again.
In chapter 2 Equiano explains how it doesn’t matter what color skin you are, everybody should be treated the same. No one person should be better or have power over another preventing them from living life and taking their rights of mankind away. I too would agree with the statements made by Equiano and I most certainly am glad he was lucky enough to be able to buy his freedom, as others were not so lucky. I really can’t wait until there is absolutely no slavery because there should not be one person subjected to it.