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who is Equiano?

Throughout the novel, The Life of Olaudah Equiano,the reader is able to see how main character adapts with his surroundings as quickly as his name is changed. Gustavus Vassa, is what Eqiano’s name is changed to which he is not very fond of, but just like his life, he grows to accept it and crave the dangerous lifestyle that comes with it. We see young Equiano who is fearful of this new rugged lifestyle evolves into a person who craves the adrenaline rush that comes with the battles while at sea. Equiano also develops a fascination with knowledge and religion. Always asking questions and learning new ways to expand his knowledge which ultimately only is developing his character from a simple person to a man who has worth. Equiano masters the languages he is surrounded by and takes every situation as a potential learning experience to grow from. Equiano is very observant, and pays attention to what is going on around him. While on the ship Aetna, he notices spiritual happenings that occur (when Mondel has a dream he will die, when Eqiuano fell off the deck) and changes his actions/thoughts based on these miraculous happenings. Not only does Equiano’s mental stability change, but so does his physical appearance. As Equiano becomes comparable to a sophisticated man, he appears to look the part as well. He learns how to shave, do his hair and dress properly. Even though Equiano lives through and has masters who are horrible and cruel, he never lets it persuade his opinion on any new owner he has. He realizes everyone makes their own decisions to be the people they are. Equiano was intelligent in the fact that he knew slaveowners who were kind to their slaves would produce good workers who would benefit their owners more. Equiano lived by this as well. Equiano worked hard for Captain Farmer. Equiano had a very likable personality since he was kind and had morals, which benefited his life. Equiano was smart and always had a plan for his future which engulfed his life. He eventually saved up enough money to buy the one thing in his life he strived to receive, freedom. Unlike many slaves who accept their fate, Equiano, decided his own fate and is admirable for that.

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One thought on “who is Equiano?

  1. I believe that the issue of self-identity for Equiano is very important through-out the novel as is the idea of education. I think you touched on two very dominant themes in the novel. It is interesting too that his self-identy and his quest for education are inter-related. It is through education (both reading, writing, but also through the different ventures and trades he learns) that Equiano’s own self-identity evolves.

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