Equiano’s Literature of Christ

“Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can rarely dwell. Hope never comes

That comes to all, but torture without end

Still urges” (92).

“With shudd’ring horror pale, and eyes aghast,

They view their lamentable lot, and find

No rest!” (99)

In The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano quotes many English works such as the quote above from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. One of the main themes in Paradise Lost is the importance of obedience to God. Equiano stated in his autobiography that, “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 be sold from lord to lord” (92). Being a slave, Equiano could never fully rest and always had to be left with the worry of being sold to another “lord” (master). I believe that Equiano uses these quotes to identify how he was a man of God, and how he is well educated for a slave. Equiano uses these religious references in order to allow his readers to know he is religious and to help them relate more to him. He is more likely to be related to and liked as he was baptized and religious like they are. By selecting these quotes Equiano relates how at the time the English language was accessible to him, even though he was a slave and used these quotes to describe his view on slavery. Equiano is demonstrating how the English language is easily understood and can be used by all who are able to understand it.  Equiano is proclaiming the salvation of Christ, and speaking the truth of how the English language is easily understood and completely full of confrontation. Using the words and phrases such as “sorrow,” “torture without end,” “horror,” and “No rest” help to shed light on the way the slaves were treated in Equiano’s time. Equiano would rather rely on God to find a way out of the “torture and sorrow” as a way to feel more connected to the Christian community reading his work.

-Alina Cantero

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2 thoughts on “Equiano’s Literature of Christ

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I really liked how you don’t only focus on one quote from Equiano since it helps the reader see that him mentioning religion isn’t just a one-time thing. I also like how you explain what each of the quotes means and why he chose to use religion in order to describe his view on slavery

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. The thing I really liked about it was the connection you made between Equiano and Milton and their usage of religion in their works. It helps your point about how Equiano uses it to make himself more relatable to his readers. An improvement I would suggest would be to use other quotes. Though the quote you choose does help your point, by using another one you would be able to offer your thesis more support

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