Equiano and Prince

1) I think that the two narratives show two very separate sides of the same issue. It is clear that both Equiano and Prince go through similar hardships in terms of physical brutality and punishment, which can be seen in the accounts of many slave stories, but the emotional tone of each story seems a little different. I think the aspect of how Prince was born into slavery and how Equiano was brought into it after living in a free society has big implications on how each were able to deal with their circumstances. Equiano is able to buy his freedom eventually and in many ways become part of the new society he was brought into while converting to christianity and learning to do many things that a free worker can do during his enslavement. I think his eventual success is a result of understanding the world from a free persons perspective. It is reflected in his strategy to show the European people that the people they enslave are capable of succeeding within a structured society. As Prince was born as a slave, she developed an understanding of the world where all she knows is oppression. Her strategy to inform the world of the hardship of slavery doesn’t stem from an understanding of being within society, but rather the tortures that free people do not experience like the separation from loved ones. Her story takes on more emotional tone than Equianos because she does not have the same hope for succeeding in freedom that Equiano does, but rather for a master who’s policies are more humane.

2) Prince is also at a disadvantage compared to Equiano because of her gender. Although all slaves regardless of gender are susceptible to the same punishment and strict obedience to their masters rules, Equiano is able to gain valuable working experience like trade that Prince is not exposed to. Being enslaved as a woman leaves only opportunity to gain knowledge of homemaking and pampering. Because of the lack of exposure to real work in the economy, woman like Prince really only get suited for working in the home. Yet the male slave may have access to real world experiences and work that can help them succeed in freedom, as depicted in Equianos story.

3) The notion of the body as a piece of property or a form of investment is very prevalent in each story. The slave trade from individual masters depicts nature of slaves as property. But the story’s do have differences. Equiano’s depiction of the body as property can be seen in the scene on the boat where all of the slaves are regarded more like cargo than actual human bodies. Although this isn’t a consequence for any specific thing that Equiano had done, it shows the harsh reality of the slave trade. Prince’s experience in regards to her body comes from a more direct result of her actions. Her body is violated in the form of beatings and tortures activity due to her disobedience and her protest to her circumstance. Again this shows the cruel nature of enslavement as a property and investment, but in a much more personal way.


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