It is my belief that every action and occurrence recorded in this narrative is meticulously placed and worded with a main direct purpose in mind. In order for Olaudah Equiano’s interesting account of his life to truly transcend the barriers of race and modestly resonate throughout the pro-slavery faction of America – Equiano needed to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of cultivating an image of himself as an almost unbiased factual reporter without sacrificing the truly horrific imagery that he knew would stir the morality of man most.
In the beginning of the narrative he starts with a nostalgic look at his homeland and people. During this account he draws many parallels between the way of life of his own people to that of his target audience. This establishes him as a human being, he has roots, a family, and a life not so completely different from that of Americans. He is not cargo or some traded commodity – it is much harder to inflict such devastation on a group of people if you feel that you know them and even partially identify with them. Equiano realizes this and attempts to utilize it in his argument. He possibly even exaggerates the wonderfully utopian qualities of his prior life to make these parallels even stronger. It must have taken incredible strength and insight for him to realize that his point would not get across if his narrative became what slave holders would see as an abolitionist rant. He tactfully balances the horrors of an enslaved life with a distant level-headed approach to the entire process. Sometimes it is almost to much for me as at certain points during the narrative I felt that he was too distant and that I never got to know him as well as I would of liked to. His conversion to Christianity honestly bothered me a little bit. I realize the fusing of his old and new life was also essential to his argument and this text and his timely distance as a narrator can also be linked to his beginning claim that most narratives are marked in vanity, but I just still felt like I didn’t really know him even after finishing the text and maybe the narrative could have benefited from a little vanity at times.