The bigger Picture in Equiano’s narrative

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In the picture above the first thing that catches the reader’s eye is the quaker looking man holding a picture directly into the telescope which is directed at a merry black tribe. Beneath that picture is a man that seems to be in charge of picking out the pictures for ‘Negro Slavery’. The contradictory nature  of a quaker holding a picture of slaves being between paralleled with a nice calm looking village (even the weather is calmers and brighter over there), demonstrates a pro-slavery propaganda type of picture. As the quakers are holding their anti-slavery posters (they disagree with slavery) there are poor Irishmen and children on the streets. This Quaker holding the large sign in the middle saying “buy only West India Company Sugar” but also has a ‘East India Company’ tag in his back pocket also indicates he may be payed off and dishonest. The point of this picture may be to demonstrate that those who are against slavery are a bunch of hypocrites because as they preach to have anti-slavery they have white men on the streets (although Irish) and their children signing forms probably against their will. This relates to Olaudah Equiano’s narrative when ‘Equiano’ states

“ I was so enraged with the Governor, that I could have wished to have seen him tied fast to a tree and flogged for his behaviour; but I had not people enough to cope with his party. I therefore thought of a stratagem to appease the riot. Recollecting a passage I had read in the life of Columbus, when he was amongst the Indians in Mexico or Peru, where, on some occasion, he frightened them, by telling them of certain events in the heavens, I had recourse to the same expedient; and it succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations. When I had formed my determination, I went in the midst of them; and, taking hold of the Governor, I pointed up to the heavens. I menaced him and the rest: I told them God lived there, and that he was angry with them, and they must not quarrel so; that they were all brothers, and if they did not leave off, and go away quietly, I would take the book (pointing to the Bible), read, and tell God to make them dead. This was something like magic. The clamour immediately ceased, and I gave them some rum and a few other things; after which they went away peaceably; and the Governor afterwards gave our neighbour, who was called Captain Plasmyah, his hat again.” (Equiano 2875).

This demonstrates that while Equiano may be scrutinizing the whites for their position on slavery and they treat him, he too also is focusing too much on the smaller picture than the larger one. In this case Equiano is trying so hard to be like the British (mentioning someone they would know of and talking sophisticatedly while tricking people)  that he fails to see he too does everything he hates. Right before this passage he went to help pick out slaves from his village, choosing the ones from his village because they ‘would’ be the best workers, although he just sentenced them to be slaves. The point being in both of these scenarios the person being depicted is failing to see their part in helping the encourage slavery and not abolish it.

 

-Haley H.

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4 thoughts on “The bigger Picture in Equiano’s narrative

  1. I think the most important sentence in this blog is: “The point of this picture may be to demonstrate that those who are against slavery are a bunch of hypocrites because as they preach to have anti-slavery they have white men on the streets (although Irish) and their children signing forms probably against their will.” However, I had a hard time seeing how your quote related back to this. Sure, it had to do with hypocrisy, but I would have like to have seen the connection explained further/made stronger as their versions of hypocrisy seem quite different. Additionally, it would have helped your argument by using diction that conveyed you were committed to your stance. When you say “may be to,” it immediately creates doubt in my mind about the validity of your argument and whether or not you are an authority on the subject (thus, effecting credibility). I think it would have been stronger to just come right out and say, “The point of this picture IS TO…” (Side note: at some point the word “black(s)” was used. I think African(s) would have been a more academic choice)

    Extra Credit: 13/25

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  2. The sentence that appears to be the main point is, “In this case Equiano is trying so hard to be like the British (mentioning someone they would know of and talking sophisticatedly while tricking people) that he fails to see he too does everything he hates.” because the main topic is people trying to address an issue without realizing they aren’t quite helping. If you wanted to improve it a bit, looking more at Equiano would be a good start, the quote you used to connect him to the post didn’t quite work so well with what you were trying to explain.

    extra credit 13/25

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  3. The most original idea in your blog post is “The point of this picture may be to demonstrate that those who are against slavery are a bunch of hypocrites because as they preach to have anti-slavery they have white men on the streets (although Irish) and their children signing forms probably against their will.” To improve your post I suggest explaining if Equiano’s stance on slavery in the book hurt or helped the success of the book and spread of the message.

    extra credit 11/25

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  4. Great use of the image as a reference. It would be supportive to use a few quotations on Equiano’s stance to put an exclamation point to this.

    EC 13/25

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