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Word Count: 1,371
Olaudah Equianos narrative is an intelligently written piece that was written for a European society in a time of predominantly white superiority His autobiography walks a fine line between portraying an accurate image of the African-American slave experience and producing a work that will not offend or shock European society This is accomplished through a combination of unprejudiced wording limited details and references to positive images This work is a good primary source about the slave trade because it provides an accurate picture of what happened and what the Africans were thinking as they endured the trip However the picture is not interpreted as easily as expected Due to Equianos European audience it is necessary to understand the positive spin of this report and interpret it as a watered down version of the true sufferings There are several important reasons that Equianos narrative should be considered a good primary source when dealing with the middle passage and slavery in the Americas The most important reason that Equiano reports the facts about the people surroundings and actions that took place After illuminating any defensiveness from whites by speaking of slavery throughout the report gives a detailed description of the ship and the journeys In very careful language Equiano describes the smell that makes one sick There was constant crying and prisoners were flogged for not eating He speaks of how some of his fellow countrymen would jump overboard they preferred death to slavery There were cramped quarters in which Each had scarcely room to turn himself Thee conditions got even worse after cargo was landed from another ship At one point the crowding was so bad that some prisoners were allowed on deck because the smell was dangerous Much of the smell was due to the necessary trough that Equiano spoke of instead of going into details about personal hygene In the same way beatings that were given for attempted suicide or an attempt
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