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HIS 221- Week 3 Discussion: Olaudah Equiano

Aug 1, 2023

Week 3 Discussion: Olaudah Equiano – Discussion Group 1

Answer any two out of the three discussion questions about The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah EquianoProvide your initial answers to the questions

  1. What are some of the insights Equiano relates about the experiences he and other slaves endured on the slave ship and in the slave market?
  2. What are the tones and emotions of the language Equiano uses to describe his experiences?
  3. Why do you think Equiano wrote and published his life story? Who was he trying to reach and why?


Week 3 Discussion: Olaudah Equiano

2. What are the tones and emotions of the language Equiano uses to describe his experiences?

In his autobiography, Equiano uses the tone and the emotions based on the language in order to describe the horror and terror the slaves have to face, which he could understand while he was trapped in the slave ship. Thus, the tone that he used is based on the emotional tone where he tried to disclose the journey of the slaves and the Slave-Trade which is likely to be a nightmare. He has deliberately written about things in his autobiography because he wanted to spread awareness with confidence stating about the horrifying life one slave has to face. Thus, he describes the closeness of the place, the heat, and the infectious virus, who would rather choose to die, while jumping into the sea. Equiano’s tone is crusading, which deals with the immersion of the honorable aspect of Western society that denounces the horrific result faced by the slaves in the West. In his article, he mainly projects about the life of the slaves and the inhumanity faced by the people. In his writing, he uses a tone that deals with language and emotion to call all the whites so that they can abolish practicing inhumane behavior with the black slaves (Equiano 2018). Apart from this, in his article, he eventually mentions how Black people are facing discrimination being a citizen of the nation.

3. Why do you think Equiano wrote and published his life story? Who was he trying to reach and why?

As per my thought, Equiano wrote this autobiography in order to describe the horrible sight of the Slave Trade. He published, his writing in order to state the lives of the slaves, and how terrifying. Here, he is trying to say how the slaves are treated and the hardships they had to face. Apart from this, Equiano wrote this article so that he can narrate about his own life and the heinous crime committed towards the slave under the Slave Trade methods. The main purpose of this article by Olaudah Equiano, in order to develop the idea to narrate the life of the slaves. Equiano mainly focuses on the purpose to learn about the sense of compassion based on the miseries based on the Slave-Trade which is entailed with unfortunate countrymen. Therefore, the article is written about his birth and his parentage. Here, he narrates about being kidnapped along with his sister. He talked about being separated on the note of meeting again and she is finally separated on the account of different notes. He mentioned that he was kidnapped and saw the first object was the sea coast, as he saw the slave ship arriving. Therefore, in this article, he mentions the sight that effects of the slave-ship that sailed to the West Indies. He narrates about his experiences, like the horror caused by the slave-ship, as it arrives to Barbados, where the cargo was sold got dispersed (Equiano 2018).    

Here, Equiano is trying to address the literate whites, who kept the black people abolished from being good people. Apart from this, he hoped to call all the whites so that he can sell enough copies and get freedom. Apart from this, here, he is trying to make address the lack of resources given to the slaves in the West Indies. His main target in order to complete his autobiography, was to show the horror of slavery. Therefore, he hopes people abolish the terrifying sight of slavery, which is once found to be an awful condition for the slaves to live. Therefore, his book is mainly based on the slave narrative.


Equiano, O. (2018). The interesting narrative. Oxford University Press.

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