Essay Example on The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano









Olaudah Equiano in his story is kidnapped from his home in African and thrown into a life that he was not expecting He is a slave for a total of ten years and tries to take on certain traits and customs of the people he is surrounded by He tries hard to improve himself and learn Christianity and adopt western culture However Equiano still tries to hold on to a some of his African heritage In the narrative he tries to keep the African part of him pure and innocent He does this because he finds that European culture often lacks those qualities This does leave him conflicted in the end between his native African self and his adapted English self Olaudah Equiano adopts Western habits while saving several of his African values This makes him a man mixed with two cultures but not necessarily belonging to either During Equiano s long journey to many different countries he learned of western culture and customs Even though at first when he was enslaved he was frightened of the Europeans he begins to see them as people he admired and were truly smarter beings So he starts to learn and practice their culture He starts to educate himself and learn their language and learns to read a write in the process He also eventually learns about 

Christianity and is baptized while in England As Equiano envelops himself in western culture you can see his opinions change a bit and his understanding of humanity change Equiano's opinion and views vary quite a bit at this point in his narrative to the beginning when he was first abducted While learning of the west he also learns how to make money which later on eventually he earns enough money to buy his freedom Even though Equiano strives to become European he still holds onto his African heritage Many times the whites treat him and others around him terribly affecting him greatly and his view of normality When he first taken to England Equiano witnesses a white man being flogged mercilessly This is the first time he had ever seen something so cruel and as a child it frightens him and because it conflicts with his original African idles Later on when he is older and witnesses more cruelty towards others even worse Equiano states himself that he was shocked at this behavior and how dissimilar it was from the practices of his African home At this point in the narrative he starts to talk about how unfair and unjust the slave trade business is He talks about how they should require at least 20 000 people to be born every year to make up for all the people that are killed or die Throughout the entire narrative the author is very honest and pure in his intentions and retains his African purity of intent Even though Equiano keeps witnessing all these horrible things he still is shocked every time someone is dishonest or cruel to others He fined that Europeans are often dishonest and untrustworthy One of Equiano s masters Lieutenant Pascal told his slaves that they were going to be paid off 

But pascal soon after tries to sell Equiano for profit anyway and he is shocked at this display of dishonesty and deceit This shows how through everything Equiano did not let the dishonest values of the Europeans challenge or change his African values Equiano belongs in neither European or African society anymore so he tries to find a place where he can fit in He thought he found a good fit when he got an official post to help poor blacks get back to Africa however some of the officials were being dishonest Equiano tried to point them out on it because he wanted to do things honestly but just ended up getting fired Equiano starts to find fault in many other things as he gets older He considers most of the people who call themselves Christian to be Christian in name only and this also greatly upsets him He talks about in the narrative the golden rule of Christian conduct which states that you should treat others the way you wish to be treated Equiano feels this rule is very lacking in the slave industry and in European ideals All of this goes against his African values that stop him from becoming completely immersed into their culture This gives Equiano the choice to switch back to African ways but his adopted western half prevents him from doing so At first Equiano viewed everything he didn t understand to be magic but now his view has drastically changed If he went back home to Africa would his old friends and family members not get that same idea of magic because they do not quite understand Equiano s western side of him that promotes self improvement and learning prevents him from going back to his old more primitive lifestyle He has many more opportunities in England for him to improve and grow unlike back home This conflict within him leaves him somewhere in the middle between both cultures Equiano's narrative gives fascinating insight into one's struggle to assimilate into a culture He embraces full heartedly western values but is unable to let go of his African heritage But in trying to be both he ends up getting stuck in the middle between both isolating himself from fitting into either culture This problem of being able to embrace another culture that differs vastly from the one you are originally from exists today as well Someone coming to America from other differing countries often find themselves split between both cultures and fall victim to cultural identity much like Olaudah Equiano many years

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