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The Guerins are also instrumental in persuading Pascal to allow Equiano to be baptized into the church. I have been baptized; and by the laws of the land no man has a right to sell me" (p. After Doran tells Equiano he talks "too much English" and threatens to subdue him, Equiano begins service under a new master, for he is "too well convinced of his power over me to doubt what he said" (177). Equiano continues his studies and his religious development independently whenever possible, but his visits to England are always temporary, as he returns to sea with his captain whenever Pascal and the ship are ready for a new voyage. many years, and he has taken all my wages and prize-money . Dejected at the situation in which he now finds himself, Equiano begins to believe his new situation is a result of God's punishment for his sins and soon resigns himself to his new life.
He settled in England in 1767, attending school and working as an assistant to scientist Dr. Equiano continued to travel, making several voyages aboard trading vessels to Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Jamaica, Grenada, and North America.
In 1773 he accompanied Irving on a polar expedition in search of a northeast passage from Europe to Asia.
Following the publication of his Interesting Narrative, Equiano traveled throughout Great Britain as an abolitionist and author. Equiano's journey begins when he is kidnapped from his village with his sister, from whom he is eventually separated. The narration occasionally reflects the childish wonder of the young Equiano at the time of his journey, but it also highlights his culture shock at his introduction to European culture and European treatment of slaves.
He married Susanna Cullen in 1792, with whom he had two daughters. Volume I opens with a description of Equiano's native African culture, including customs associated with clothing, food, and religious practices. He describes a long voyage through various African regions, marked by brief tenures as a slave to "a chieftain, in a very pleasant country" and a wealthy widow who resides in "a town called Tinmah, in the most beautiful country I had yet seen in Africa" (pp. Ultimately, Equiano is sold back to traders who bring him "sometimes by land, sometimes by water, through different countries and various nations, till . Though he witnesses the sale of slaves in the West Indies, Equiano himself is not purchased, and he stays with the Dutch ship, traveling from the West Indies to North America.
Though he spent a brief period in the state of Virginia, much of Equiano's time in slavery was spent serving the captains of slave ships and British navy vessels.
One of his masters, Henry Pascal, the captain of a British trading vessel, gave Equiano the name Gustavas Vassa, which he used throughout his life, though he published his autobiography under his African name.
When he asks questions about his first encounter with snow, he is told it is made by "a great man in the heavens, called God." He attends church, and receives instruction from his new friend, Robert (p. Equiano describes the various battles and ship transfers that take place after his return to sea with Pascal. [having] long wished to be able to read and write" (p. During stopovers in England, Captain Pascal sends Equiano to wait upon two sisters known as the Miss Guerins. Robert King, a "charitable and humane" Quaker merchant who employs him in a variety of positions, from loading boats to clerking and serving as a personal groom, in addition to occasionally hiring out Equiano"s services to other merchants (p. One of King's boat captains, an Englishman named Thomas Farmer, relies heavily on Equiano and frequently hires him for voyages from the West Indies to North America. [he would] tell my master I was better to him on board than any three white men he had" (p. At this time, Equiano begins buying and selling goods and fruit and starts his own side trading enterprise during each voyage. obtain my freedom, and to return to Old England" (p.
He also expresses his growing ease with the European culture he initially found so strange and frightening: "I ceased to feel those apprehensions and alarms which had taken such strong possession of me when I first came among the Europeans" (p. As his time with Pascal progresses, Equiano professes a growing attachment to his master and a desire to "imbibe" and "imitate" the English culture in which he is immersed (p. He can "now speak English tolerably well" and "embrace[s] every occasion of improvement . They become, in a sense, patrons to Equiano, not only treating him kindly but also supporting his education and his interest in Christianity by sending him to school. Proud of being singled out, Equiano remarks that he "became so useful to the captain on shipboard, that . Although he faces setbacks and insults from white buyers who refuse to pay for goods, use "bad coin," or demand fraudulent refunds, Equiano acquires a small amount of savings and is "determined to .
An example of the terrible condition in which the slaves lived is narrated by Equation (2013) as: “The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any time.. ” (1388) “The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so eroded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us” (p. The conditions the Africans slaves endured during the Middle Passage were horrific; no human being should be force to live in such deplorable conditions.
The lack of freedom on the slave ships caused great distress to the enslaved Africans.