Prince and Equiano Questions

1. What distinctions do you see between Prince’s plight and Equiano’s? What are the consequences of these distinctions on the emotional or physical state of Prince?

Even though both slave narratives depict how cruel the circumstances were during that era, I think Mary Prince’s life story shows more pain and suffering. I would say I have interpreted the text a little differently than most people, but from what I determine, Equiano’s story does not demonstrate a real distress over the situation, but instead he seems more curious of what is happening. For Mary Prince, there was not a moment of joy. She seemed to be in peril from the get-go and so it hit the heart a little more. Now, as for her emotional/physical state one could only imagine she has strong will, shes strong to her convictions, and she harbors resentment for her what she had to go through. That’s how I see it anyway.

2. How might we consider the issue of gender with regard to slavery? What jobs are open to all genders? What jobs are deeply gendered in performance?

I would think for the most part that woman slaves were used as house maids, cooks, and nanny’s for their white owners.With that in mind, women were mostly kept to manage the house hold chores while the men worked the fields. Of course I wont deny that some women had to work the fields, but for the most part it was household tasks. Lets just face it gang, whether you were slave as a man or woman; hard work, pain, and suffering were in your future.

We have spent a great deal of time discussing the body in Equiano, how does the body figure into Prince’s tale? How is the body conceived of by the individual and/or the master and how does this differ from the ways the body functions in Equiano’s tale?


For Mary Prince, the opinion of the slave is like a savage barbarian animal that is treated like inhumane and as worthless.  For Equiano he is treated as uncivilized, but there is hope that he can rise above his savage ways and become an enlightened civilized free man. Both narratives suggest the body is something that can be sold and since its property; it can be abused and resold. 


One thought on “Prince and Equiano Questions

  1. I agree that Mary Prince’s story seems more cruel, and it jars the reader somewhat. Where Equiano escaped slavery and rose above it, looking back at the experience with an intellectual perspective, Prince seems to have been affected more permanently by the experience (as most people probably would be), describing it with emotion that feels like it is still raw at the time she is writing.

    Although they may have gone through many of the same experiences and abuses, Equiano writes with a calculated manner and a political motive, mostly for the benefit of other people. My impression of Mary prince was that she is writing as much to spread the word of these injustices, as she was to provide a type of therapy to herself.

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