Narrative by Olaudah Equiano of His Own Enslavement and the Way toward Freedom
This particular narrative, written in 1789, appears to be one of the most prominent literary texts of the 18th century. Describing his own experience as a slave the author manages to describe the overall conditions of slavery in West Africa and colonial America that has been extending at that period of time. Equiano’s text also refers to another historical event related to the problem of slavery, namely travel of African slaves to England.
Namely, the provides valuable information on the later stage of development of Transatlantic Slave Trade, which has also been known as Triangular Trade as it connected by slave trade three continents. Separate historical events related to the phenomenon, are also mentioned, for instance Slave Trade Act of 1807, by which the UK pronounced abolition of slave trade, namely trade of Igbo people (Africans) what however caused discontent in African slave dealers. From the very beginning of the story, Equiano pays special attention to providing detailed information on certain historical inhabited localities with their customs traditions and laws. For this reason, relevance and value of this text today is hard to overestimate. First and foremost, it carries important historical information and, on this ground, it is a source of historical and cultural importance. Second of all, it is related to one of the most important stages in development of civility and democracy and setting up equality of human rights. The third valuable feature of this particular book is its literary value as a text written in a variety of styles, including travel narrative, slave narrative, and spiritual narrative.
All in all, even though the text which belongs to 18th century writing is hard to read and perceive for the 21st century reader, it is still worth being drawn to the public attention at all times. Everybody has to remember our history in order to be able to learn from the mistakes of previous generations, so that not to repeat them in the future. Reading such texts, which present historical facts from personal perspectives of people who experienced these events by themselves is really important for comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. Furthermore, Equiano’s text is written in an unobtrusive and persuasive …