Equiano vs. Prince

1) I think that when Equiano said “when I compare my lot with that of most of my countrymen, I regard myself as a particular favourite of Heaven”(31). people like Mary Prince are who he had in mind. Based on text alone, I would argue that Mary Prince definitey encountered more hardship than Equiano did in his narrative. Obviously Prince describes more physical tortures that she was exposed to, however one distinction between her and Equiano that I noticed was that Prince tried to keep ties with her family, while Equiano was taken from his family and that was it. Obviously both scenarios are not desired, but by Equiano just accepting that he is separated from his family, I think that he avoids a lot of emotional trouble. Even when she is sold, Prince is still relatively close to, or makes trips to see some of her family. This in turn gives her more to think about and miss. By being idle for most of his time and avoiding close relationships with people, Equiano spares himself the emotional torment of losing them.
2) Slaves were undoubtedly seen as the bottom of society during this period, however the only thing worse socially than being a slave was being a slave woman. Equiano is able to learn many trades including cutting hair and trading during his travels. Prince however, is only really able to care for the children in the house, and if she is not doing that then she is working hard labor with the others. The startling thing though, is that where there are restrictions as to what male and female slaves can do, the punishments are equally evil for all. Prince specifically describes an old slave woman named Hetty who is beaten “till she was all over streaming with blood”(11). Her treatment is horrible and she eventually dies. The masters had absolutely no regard for the sex of the slave, if they deserved a beating, they gave one.
3) In Equiano’s narrative, the body is at least viewed as a person. Equiano is taught many things, baptized and given his freedom at the end. I found that in Prince’s narrative, the body is viewed as just that, a body. In the eyes of the masters there is no soul inside of the body. They just want as much as they can get out of that body, and if it dies, then you just get a new one. Prince describes a slave named Daniel, who had wounds “full of maggots, which increased his torments to an intolerable degree”(17). I found the masters to be the same as these maggots. They are just parasites, looking to get the maximum amount of benefits from the body without any consideration for the body itself. When the body is sick, there is little that is done besides giving them salt water. Equiano is beaten close to death, but he actually receives good medical care. Nothing like this is seen in Prince’s story.  I think that the view of the body also has something to do with Prince’s owner refusing to all her to purchase her freedom. He doesn’t view her as a person, just a body that he can no longer benefit from so he refuses.


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