Olaudah Equiano Test!

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Why does the author consider himself to be "...a particular favorite of Heaven"? How does his name reflect that?

He says this because compared to a lot of people like him who were taken to the new world, he was lucky enough to get out of slavery and make a life for himself.

When and where was Equiano born? What was his family's social status in his community?

Where: In a vale called Essaka

Born:1745.

Social Staus: His family was a high status, because his father was an elder in their village.

Equiano goes into considerable depth explaining his native culture. Briefly summarize their traditions in the following different areas:

...

Marriage

Kids are betrothed when young by the parents

the groom eventually declares in from of people at a feast that the girl is now his wife and she should no longer be addressed,

the then married girl wears a cotton string signifying that she is taken,

and a dowry of money, land, and cattle

Dance

Rejoicing in public dance is common

they dance in sections of married genders, then unmarried, and there are many instruments to dance to

Dress

Men and women dress fairly the same- a long cloth is wrapped around the body, usually blue

women also wear gold jewelry, and when they are not yet married, their main job is sometimes to create clothing

Religion

They believe that there is one Creator who lives in the sun and never eats, he governs life and death, people set aside some food before meals for spirits of dead friends to keep them away

Diet

Bullocks, goats, and poultry are the common meats, pepper, salt, and spices are used to add flavor, vegetable consist of plantains, eadas, yams, beans, and corn, the way the family eats is differed by which table they sit at, with the man by himself, and the wives and children on their own too

Equiano states that slavery was common not only in his culture but also throughout the region in Africa where he lived. How were slaves obtained? How were they treated?

When a slave trader wants slaves, he trades with a local chief in order to get some.

The chief's forces fall upon another village nearby, and a war ensues where the winner decides if the slaves are taken. Slaves were treated terribly after being captured.

Why does Equiano compare his people to the Jews of the Old Testament?

He compares them because they practice circumcision like the Jews, and they make offerings at feasts in the same manner.

How does Equiano address the commonly held belief of his day that Africans were inferior to Europeans?

He looks at it in a rational light, but is also disdainful when describing why the Europeans were somewhat egocentric.

How does Equiano describe his transformation into slavery? What happens to his sister?

He was captured in his home with his sister. He adjustment was not easy and he cried often. He was separated from his sister early on, because she was carried away to an unknown place.

How does Equiano address the commonly held belief of his day that Africans were inferior to Europeans?

He looks at it in a rational light, but is also disdainful when describing why the Europeans were somewhat egocentric.

How does Equiano describe his transformation into slavery? What happens to his sister?

He was captured in his home with his sister. He adjustment was not easy and he cried often. He was separated from his sister early on, because she was carried away to an unknown place.

As he passes from one master to the next, how does Equiano describe his treatment? How long does it take for him to finally reach the seacoast?

He was treated fairly nicely after being transferred to a chief and his family. It took him a long while to get to the coast after running away.

Once he arrives at the seacoast, Equiano comes in contact with Europeans for the first time. How do they differ from his previous masters?

They are cruel and forceful when dealing with the slaves, and are intolerant.

How does Equiano describe the slave ship? What are conditions like below deck? Why do the sailors severely beat those who attempt to drown themselves in the sea?

It was smelly, dark, and he lost his appetite. They tried to teach them a lesson that they could not get away or else they would die.

What happens to Equiano once he arrives at Barbados?

He and the other slaves were examined by buyers and were assigned certain islands to go to. He was told that they were going to be working, and he was astonished by the technologies and architecture of the Europeans.

Why does Equiano chastise Europeans at the end of chapter 2?

He found their treatment towards the slaves cruel and unusual, and that they should be ashamed of themselves for these acts.

What stands out to Equiano as he adjusts to his new life as a slave? How does he react to his new name? What is it?

He was astonished at some of the things he saw like a slave woman who had iron machines all over her, particularly the iron muzzle on her face. The things like the clock on the walls and the paintings were all so new to him that he was afraid. He was called Jacob but on the African ship he was called Michael. Everything is so different to him.

How are Lt. Pascal and Richard (Dick) Baker different from previous whites he has come across? According to Equiano, what are some of the positive and negatives of the culture of whites?

Every body on Lt. Pascal's ship treated him very kindly which was contrary to the other white people. Richard Baker had many slaves but he was equal to Equiano and they were very good friends. Equiano thought that they were much happier than Africans. He was amazed at the wisdom they had but astonished at their not sacrificing or making any offerings and eating with unwashed hands and touching the dead. He thought the women were not so modest as the African women because of their slenderness.

How does Equiano become fascinated with books?

He saw Dick and his master reading and had a curiosity to talk with the books. He thought the books would answer him but he did not hear them.

Describe some of Equiano's experiences during his time at sea and at war. How do these experiences change him?

A lot of fighting happens at sea and he gains a loyalty to his master and the crew. He starts saying "we" like "as we wanted some hands to complete our complement." He was apart of something now and the fact that they were white did not matter. He learns loyalty like that.

Why does Equiano begin to see himself as an Englishman? What keeps him from completely adopting and English self-identity?

He had spent months with nothing but Europeans, and he had learned to speak English perfectly. He no longer feared his fellow sailors, and had adopted their society and manners. He was eventually baptized. He still could not read or write.

What role does Equiano play in the many naval battles in which he took part? How close does he come to perishing?

He was partnered with another boy to get gunpowder for gunners. He came very close, with splinters flying right near him.

It is clear that Equiano becomes a deeply religious person. How does he justify his belief in divine providence while at the same time witnessing unspeakable cruelties?

He believed God would be kinder towards the obedient and hard working?

Why Equiano shocked to learn that he would be sold to a new master when the war is over?

He was initially surprised because of how long he had served his first master. He had also been baptized, so he no longer considered himself a property to be sold.

Describe Equiano's new master, Mr. Robert King. What is his occupation? How does he differ from other masters? Why does he purchase Equiano?

He was a Quaker, and a merchant. He wanted to put Equiano into a nice school when they got back to Philadelphia. He said he bought Equiano because he heard he was a hard worker and an honest man.

Equiano spends considerable time in this chapter describing the cruelty he witnessed inflicted on slaves in Barbados. Provide some of the more poignant examples. What impact does this treatment have on the people who endure it?

He witnesses people who are barely fed and are treated badly by their masters. He also sees a man get whipped because he could not pay his master the correct sum. Many slaves fled their masters in order to get away from the horrible treatment.

What was Act 329 of the Assembly of Barbados? Why does Equiano see it as an indictment of the whole slave system?

Act 329 said that if a slave was found running away, the master would have to pay for killing him. He saw the whole idea of paying to kill was unjust, uncivilized, and unwise.

Analyze the following quote, found on page 100: "But is not the slave trade entirely a war with the heart of man? And surely that which is begun by breaking down the barriers of virtue involves in its continuance destruction to very principle, and buries all sentiment in ruin!"

Equiano is trying to explain that being in the slave business rids everyone of his or her humanity. Those selling and buying the slaves are living immorally by degrading a human and treating them as inferiors. He is saying those that are forced into slavery are losing their "heart"s and lives because of the inhumane treatment of their owners.

. Why does Equiano agree to accompany Captain Thomas Farmer during his voyages at sea? What qualities does Equiano possess that makes him so valuable to his captain and to his master?

The captain liked him a lot, and his master finally agreed to let him go with him after much convincing. Equiano was valuable to the captain because he was not a drunk, like all the other sailors, and he was required to be loyal to the captain as well.

What happens to Equiano when he tries to engage in some trading of his own?

He has much success at the beginning of his trading, but one time when he took port, some white men took his goods from him. He could not get them back, because the men were stubborn and rude.

How does the story of Joseph Clipson reflect the perils of being a free black in the slave-holding system of the New World? Why does Equiano believe that the plight of the free black might be worse than that of the slave?

He said he was free, and had proper documentation to prove that he was, but the white people did not care. They are thought to have killed him for saying that he was free. Equiano says this because as a slave you at least have some sort of protection from your master. When you are free, the whites feel that you still have no rights, and that they can do whatever they want to you.

What is Equiano's plan for gaining his freedom? How does Captain Farmer help him achieve this goal?

He was planning to steal a sloop and sailing to Europe to run away. The captain helps him by selling him to a man in America.

What mistreatment does Equiano suffer at the hands of whites while in Charlestown, South Carolina and in Savannah, Georgia?

He was beaten by his new owner in Savannah, and then taken to jail after almost dying of blood loss.

How and when does Equiano finally gain his freedom? Why does he decide to continue working for Mr. King and Captain Farmer? What is his ultimate goal?

He had found himself with 47 pounds, and asked for Captain Farmer's advice. He is trying to make a life for himself, and since he already knows Mr. King and Captain Farmer, he could easily get a job. The money he would get working for them would help him start a new future.

. Why is Equiano's freedom put in jeopardy during a stay in Savannah, Georgia in 1766?

He attacked a man who insulted him, and he had no idea what would happen to himself after that encounter.

How does Equiano react to Captain Farmer's death?

He was very upset. The captain had treated him very well, and he was a kind and benevolent person to whom Equiano looked up to. The whole time that he was dying was very hard for Equiano to deal with.

How does Equiano become shipwrecked? What role does he play in saving the crew? How are they ultimately rescued?

Someone saw something under the lee-beam and called upon Equiano to check it out, in which he concluded it was a rock and that they were in a lot of danger. Equiano then told the captain of this danger. The vessel struck against the rocks. Equiano began to think how they could be saved, and stopped the people from nailing down the hatches; he then advised to get the boat prepared against morning. He took pump-leather and nailed it to the broken part, and plastered it over with tallow-grease. They discovered a small island about five or six miles off. They gathered the necessities they needed to repair the boat

Why does Equiano go back to Savanna, Georgia? How does he, once again, run into trouble there? Why is he pleased to "...take a final farewell of the America quarter of the globe (160)"?

Some trader (merchant) who saw their condition, knowing they wanted to go to Georgia, told them that his vessel was going there, and if they worked on board and loaded her, he would give them a passage for free. Equiano went to a friend's house to lodge, and at about nine and ten o'clock at night the watch or patrol came by, and, discerning a light in the house, knocked on the door. They came inside and drank some punch, and begged some limes of Equiano in which he readily gave to them. They then told him that he must go to the watch-house with them which surprised Equiano after their kindness to them. Their reasoning was that all negroes who had a light in their house after nine o'clock were to be taken into custody and either pay some dollars, or be flogged. He went with them to the watch-house where he remained for the night

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