Olaudah Equiano Summary

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Auto ethnography can be defined as describing people by way of comparing to another. In The Life of Olaudah Equiano, the narrative is taken from the author’s African home and thrown into a Western world, completely foreign to him. Throughout the narrative, the author maintains his African innocence and purity of intent; two qualities he finds sorely lacking in the Europeans. Olaudah Equiano takes on Western ideals while keeping several of his African values; this makes him a man associated with two cultures but a member of neither. Although Equiano is initially frightened by new Western ideas and customs, writing “and I was now persuaded that I had gotten into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me” (Equiano 755). Eventually he began to see…show more content…
Slavery was common practice at the time of the writer’s captivity; however, Equiano was a spirited voice against such savagery. Later in life, he was given an official post to resettle poor blacks in Sierra Leone, Africa; but, he made accusations of misdeeds against some officials and thereby lost his post in trying to do his work honestly. Also, Equiano found fault in the inequality under Christian religion. Further, he recalled the golden rule of Christian conduct, “do unto all men as you would men should do unto you” (Equiano 769) which seemed sorely lacking in the slave trade. These matters of contention went against his enduring African values and prevented him from being fully assimilated by Western society. This left open the option of returning to Africa; nevertheless, his adopted Western culture and ideas prevented this as well. The opportunities for self-improvement lay in the West where he learned and grew. As with his African values, Equiano’s Western values also prevented a full acceptance into one sphere or the other leaving him somewhere between
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