I obviously expected Mary Prince’s narrative to be a little more graphic than Equiano’s, especially after early in the narrative she refers to her future as “toils and sorrow”(3), but I was extremely shocked at some of her descriptions. Even when Equiano received a whipping, which he rarely did in his narrative, he did not say anything about being beaten until a pool of blood collects under the slave. I cringed while reading about Prince being whipped to the point that she couldn’t stand to walk, and all this while she was still a little girl. It seemed like every time she added a new slave character to her narrative, that shortly after they would receive some sort of punishment to the point of death. It astounds me that more people didn’t die from treatment like this. It was sickening to say the least.
One of the things that resonated with me was toward the end of the book when Prince was trying to get her freedom. It is hardly a surprise that most slaveowners were horrible heartless people, but I was shocked that Mr. Wood refused to allow Prince to be freed when they were in London. First of all, it is established that slavery is not allowed in London, plus the Wood’s kicked Prince out of their house. To add to all of this, Mary Prince explains that “they offered him, as I have heard, a large sum for my freedom, he was sulky and obstinate, and would not consent to let me go free.”(31). What does Mr. Wood have to gain from not accepting this money for Prince? I think that pride has a lot to do with this. It seemed like Mr. Wood preferred to keep they symbolic ownership of Prince rather than collect a large amount of money for her because it allowed him to keep his feeling of power.