Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
You midterm essay will be on questions below based on your reading of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, The African. Written by Himself. Your essay will be graded on several criteria such as grammar, punctuation, length and content. Late papers will not be accepted. An A paper will be one that is well-written, thoughtful, and answers the questions with the correct and specific evidence found in the book. 30 points for grammar, 50 points for content, 20 points for structure (intro and conclusion). You should begin your essay with an interesting introduction and end your essay with an equally interesting conclusion. The paper should be 5 pages long and double-spaced with 1 inch margins. You need not insert quotes or endnotes but if you feel the need to cite please limit it to two sentences and just include page numbers in parenthesis. You need not include a cover page. Write your name, date and course name at the top of the first page. Every page requires a page number. Be as specific as possible and always provide evidence from the books for your answers. A note on plagiarism: As I wrote in the syllabus regarding academic integrity plagiarism is unethical and leads to an automatic failure. Undoubtedly you will find information on this novel on the internet BUT there is no substitute for reading the book. The class discussion will be that much richer by virtue of reading the book. There is no substitute for reading the book. As an educator seeing the transformation of a student who has read a book and has many questions in class discussions is what I enjoy most about teaching and it is gratifying to see the role books play in the development of the human mind. Books are a porthole to other dimensions.Essay Questions:
1)How does Equiano describe his experiences in Africa before the Europeans?
Before the coming of Europeans, Eboe is a calm place that is comprised of all aspects of life, including social, political and economic. The people in Eboe seems to enjoy every element of life regardless of the strict system for punishing offenders, including those who broke marriage laws. Equiano goes ahead by describing the entertainment items binding the society together, particularly when he says they are community of dancers, musicians, and poets (Shell & Monico, 2005). The mode of dressing in Eboe is simple, with both sexes having almost same type of clothes. The living standards are not luxurious with vegetation such as plantains, yams, and eadas and grains such as beans and Indian corn as the primary sources of food. The daily diet is occasionally supplemented with goats, bullocks, and poultry products. Before the Europeans, Africa society was engaging in education, had manufacturers, had sufficient food; it was religious and practiced circumcision like any other civilized society.
2)Describe the main experiences Equiano saw with his captors in Africa from his village to the coast. And in describing these experiences how was he treated?
Equiano describes the awful kidnapping experience he went through with his sister. He narrates how two men and a woman blocked their mouths and ran off with them in the hoods. On the way, they are mistreated to the extent they cannot eat. Equiano’s hope of being delivered on the road is squashed when his hands are tightened, his mouth blocked, and put in a sack. Equiano and her sister could only get comfort by embracing each other.3) What happened to Equiano’s sister?
4) According to Equiano’s account what specific part did Africans play in the TransAtlantic slave trade?
5) How does Equiano describe the “Middle Passage?”
6) How does African slavery compare with the plantation slavery of the Americas Equiano experienced?
7) How did Equiano acquire his freedom?
8) Where and how did Equiano’s political and religious identity (or how he saw himself) occurr and change after he became free and mark a new phase in his life?
9) Recent research argues that Equiano may not have been born in Africa but South Carolina. If this is true does it necessarily change the way you or we analyze or evaluate his memoir? Why? Why not?