from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

by Olaudah Equiano

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1.What is the time period and how does it affect the literary style?

The time period in which the narrative was published was 1789 and it was the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano who was a slave who endured the typical fate of an African who luckily managed to document his experiences. The time period was a time of popular slave trading, buying, and selling which made Olaudah Equiano's writing more accurate, being an African slave himself and having witnessed it all first hand. The style was honest and contreversial for that time but it caused for the telling of slave truth.

2. What is the author's purpose in writing the selected piece?

The author's purpose in writing this piece is to inform and raise awareness of the hardships endured by Africans from the trip to the New World to the pain of having to live under their owner's rule. The piece was a unique source, as many slaves didn't get freed and much less had the chance to write their own autobiography. The book became a piece of truth and the exposure of what it was really like to be a slave.

3. What literary techniques does the author employ in achieving his or her purpose?

In this piece there is a lot of imagery is used and a lot of powerful words describing his own personal experiances. In this piece specifically words like loathsome, pestilential, and copious are used to give an idea of what it was like specifically in a slave ship. The piece uses a lot of accurate vocabulary to vividly express the conditions that he endured while being a slave and that vocabulary makes it all the more real.

4. How is the literature characteristic of the time period?

The time period was the time of having slaves, selling slaves, and buying slaves. Slaves were the fashion. If you had slaves, you were someone. The literature expresses the other side of it. The slave side. The piece consisted of what slaves felt and the state of mind that they had from the eyes of only one slave and because Equiano wrote it during the time of slavery, it is accurate and a first hand account of what was going on.**

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Section 1
1. The Earth on Turtle's Back 2. When Grizzlies Walked Upright 3. from The Navajo Origin Legend 4. from The Iroquois Constitution
Section 2
1. A Journey Through Texas 2. Boulders Taller Than the Great Tower of Seville 3. from The interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano 4. Diamond Island: Alcatraz
Back to first page: Prose-Short Selections