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Forum nameReading Challenges, 2010
Topic subject14. The Interesting Narrative by Olaudah Equiano
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=505&topic_id=6&mesg_id=340
340, 14. The Interesting Narrative by Olaudah Equiano
Posted by alissaameth, Fri Feb-12-10 07:12 PM
Auto-biography, 201 pages.

The full title is: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself. It is a fascinating first-person account of Equiano's life and complex identity (as an African, as a slave, as a freeman, as someone who comes to identify with English culture, as a missionary, as a man, as a Christian, as a traveler). Equiano tells what he remembers of growing up in Africa, and how he was taken away from home when he was eleven or twelve years old. After that, he traveled extensively (in slavery) and eventually was able to buy himself out of slavery. (Though, of course, that doesn't mean that he felt any safer than before.) He describes sights he sees around the world, behaviors he observes and of his own feelings. There is a strong abolitionist current, as well as an evangelical focus after his conversion to Christianity.

It is a relatively quick read, despite the several four-page paragraphs that I usually lose my place in. I enjoy the author's narrative voice. It's straight-forward and honest-sounding. (In class, we are in the middle of discussing the arguments that some scholars have made that Equiano was actually born in slavery in South Carolina and not in Africa. If that were the case, his narrative wouldn't be particularly honest! We're also discussing arguments against such claims.)