Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano Essay
1497 Words6 Pages
Assignment # 1 Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano History shows that both Africans and African Americans alike faced unique problems prior to and during the 1800's, particularly prior to 1865. One such problem is the issue of Diaspora and how culture and slavery has affected the choice of religion. It is the purpose of this paper to expose comparatively the extent to which individuals have been influenced by these issues. One such individual is Olaudah Equiano. By following and analyzing some of the key moments of faith in his life, this paper seeks to expose the extent to which the series of controversial dialectical incidents that happen throughout his early life, i.e., his cultural African religious traditions…show more content…
Moreover, despite the universality of belief in a Supreme Being in Africa, formal, church-like worship of God was not widely practiced. This was the world of Olaudah Equiano; but unbeknownst to him, he would soon embark on a passage that would dramatically change life as he knew it. Equiano narrates his life from boyhood onwards; he was born in a gold-coast African village, sold into slavery to another village, moved to yet another village as a slave, and finally captured and sold to European slave-owners. He was then renamed by one of his slave masters. After reading the vivid description of his way of life, customs, and religion of his village in his narrative, it is clear that before the influence of Europeans and Christian missionaries, it appears the Ibo religion was a complex synthesis of magic, and nature. Ibo practiced some form of ancestor worship, which held that in order to gain success in this world; one must appease the spirits of the deceased. According to the memoirs from Equiano, "the natives believe that there is one Creator of all things, who lives in the sun, is girded round with a belt, and that he may never eat or drink; and according to some, he smokes a pipe and governs the events in their lives, especially deaths or captivity." In addition, they also believe in the transmigration of souls (to a certain degree), circumcision, offerings (including burnt) and feast, and washings and
Essay on The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano
850 Words4 Pages
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano
The narrative by Olaudah Equiano gives an interesting perspective of slavery both within and outside of Africa in the eighteenth century. From these writings we can gain insight into the religion and customs of an African culture. We can also see how developed the system of trade was within Africa, and worldwide by this time. Finally, we hear an insider's view on being enslaved, how slaves were treated in Africa, and what the treatment of African slaves was like at the hands of the Europeans.
Olaudah spends a good part of the narrative acquainting the reader with the customs of his people. He describes the importance of hygiene to his people. Their overall health and vigor was…show more content…
They seemed, if we take him at his word, to be a friendly and civilized people. As he put it "cheerfulness and affability are two of the leading characteristics of our nation."
The village economy was particularly interesting, and Olaudah's descriptions are very revealing. His people needed guns because other villages had them. The guns were brought to Africa by the Europeans, who used them to trade. (That the Europeans both supplied and fulfilled this need bears mention.) Olaudah states that he had never seen a European; his people traded with wandering merchants who acted as middlemen. These middlemen traded guns for potash, which they probably used in trade again elsewhere. Later in his life Olaudah also saw iron pots, crossbows, and European cutlasses among African people. This clearly illustrates the trade that developed between coastal tribes and Europeans, and the existence of middlemen who worked along established trade routes.
There is also evidence of the "Columbian Exchange" in this writing: the crops that Olaudah mentions his people raised. He says that they grew corn and tobacco, These crops were unknown in Afroeurasia before Columbus returned from the "New World" barely two hundred and fifty years earlier. These two crops traveled from the Western Hemisphere via very indirect trade routes, over a period of many years. They became staples in a rural village miles from the African coast. This shows the level of sophistication in