The tone…

What strikes me the most thus far in Equiano’s narrative is the fact that I am not having any pity or remorse toward the authors life story. Of course, I recognize how evil the circumstances are that Equiano faced yet I find it is the tone that he takes in his writing that causes me not to identify with his struggle. In most of the slave narratives I have to read over the years, it was always very difficult to read because I was always cringing and clinching my fists at the gruesome details that I was reading, but in this narrative I finding it lacks an emotional appeal and instead its more of a pamphlet, so to speak, that covers the highlights or the strong bullet points of his life. 

 To try and explain this a little bit further, Ill use the kidnapping scene in the beginning chapter two. In that instance, Equiano opens by explaining how kidnapping happens in the neighborhood and how the children went about protecting themselves. Using his odd tone that I previously discussed, the reader interprets instances of the kidnapping like a game for the children, almost like a protect the princess game. Equiano plays the role of the watch tower guard, as he looks out over his neighborhood, or kingdom, in a high tree. He mentions a time when a pair of kidnappers were unsuccessful in a robbery due to the alertness of the neighborhood children, and he writes it in such a nonchalant manner, that when he and his sister are in fact ACTUALLY kidnapped, the reader is left with this feeling of “oh, OK” as if it were not big deal at all that the main protagonist has been carried off against his will to become a slave. I ask where is the sense of danger in his writing? where is the fear? where is something that pulls on our emotions? Finally I just think the narrative lacks a lot showing and does more telling than it should.



2 thoughts on “The tone…

  1. I am inclined to agree in regards to the points you made in your post. Mostly because it gave me satisfaction in knowing that I am not a horrible person for not caring,identifying,empathizing, or sympathizing with the protagonist. I have been trying to figure out what possibly could be the reason for lack of interest: being so far removed from the concept of slavery, cultural issues of the times, etc. In reading your post and going back over the reading, I do agree that it is the framework in which he sets up his narrative that does not allow me to fully empathize with Equiano.

  2. Interesting — so if we don’t cringe or cry, what are we left with? What response do we have? I want to hear more about this because i think it could be a really useful platform for discussing this text!

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