Equiano’s Works

As I was reading through Olaudah Equiano’s narrative of his life, we mainly notice how he refers back to literature when explaining what he had gone through throughout his life. However, each  time he refers back to literature he relates it to Christianity or always has to throw in a bit of scripture or something related to the Lord.

“Oh Jove! O father! if it be thy will

That we must perish, we thy will obey,

But let us perish by the light of day” (pg, 79)

This piece of literature is a translation from Alexander Pope of Homer’s Iliad. As Equiano is being transported in the dark he is struggling and feels as if though he is going to die. So he instantly thinks of the lines from Homer’s poetry written above. It’s interesting how even through the thought of death Equiano still has literature going through his mind. I believe Olaudah Equiano continuously refers back to literature and Christianity so he can capture the minds of those who are able to read his works which, nonetheless is most likely white males. Just as we talked about in class Equiano was an abolitionist so in order to get across what he wanted to say he had to, in a sense, relate to the white male. For example, he was well-educated and became a christian. Not only that but he refers back to only white male writers which makes sense due to the fact that slavery is still going on and there were little to no rights for those like Equiano. By referring back to literature, God, and Christianity it gives Equiano The advantage of actually having the audience he wants to capture to listen to his story and feel empathy towards the situation of he and his people are going through. I also believe that because each piece of literature that Equiano placed in his narrative was mainly about God and Christianity it shows that literature during this time was more based towards the bible, so perhaps people felt the need to turn towards Christianity.

By: Carmen Ibarra
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One thought on “Equiano’s Works

  1. The focus of your post is around the concept of literary influence on Equiano relationship with the Bible. An interesting point you make is how literature has really influenced people over the ages and transcribed in his writings. In addition to the points you have made you could address the idea that Equiano had less empathy for his audience and more sympathy because he did go through what some people have experienced.
    Ashley Jackson

    Like

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