Compare/Contrast Writers

Topics: Olaudah Equiano, Rhetorical modes, Narrative Pages: 5 (1706 words) Published: September 13, 2008
There are various things that make up a piece of literature. For example: choice of diction, modes of discourse, and figurative language. Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano were great examples of authors that used these elements of literature. There are similarities and differences in A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and From Africa to America. Though Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano shared similarities in experiences, they had different writing personalities, purposes, attitudes, tones, and relations with their communities.

There are four main modes of discourse: expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive. In Mary Rowlandson’s A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, it is apparent in the title that it is a narrative. Like Mrs. Rowlandson’s literature, Olaudah Equiano’s From Africa to America is a narrative. A narrative form of literature is a story, account of events, or experiences, whether it is true or fictitious. In this case their stories were their real experiences and they gave the reader actual facts and information, also making it expository. “The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us.” (73) This is a perfect example showing that Olaudah Equiano’s narrative is also descriptive, giving the reader vivid images in his mind, whereas Rowlandson’s narrative rarely has descriptive content. These works of literature may also be portrayed as persuasive by the quote of, “..Overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition..” (7) Mary Rowlandson was overwhelmed with her emotions. This quote may persuade the reader to think of how melancholy, or how difficult it is to be on a slave ship, and also being held captive by Indians. Both narratives are similar in the experiences the two authors possessed.

Both Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano were held captive at a time in their lives. White men captured Olaudah Equiano, while Mary Rowlandson had Indian captivators. Olaudah’s story tells of the time where he first saw the slave ship he was put on and the journey across great waters to the new world. Rowlandson’s story tells of the apathy of the Indians and her stay with the tribe. It is apparent that the journey across the sea was horrible enough for the ship’s passengers to commit suicide by jumping off of the ship rather than staying on board with the putrid smell of human wastes and lack of ventilation. In a brief paragraph, Equiano wrote of his daily routine before his captivity. He mentioned the relationship he had with his mother, and how he was her favorite child. “I became, of course, the greatest favorite with my mother and was always with her.” (72) Olaudah and Mary were alike because Olaudah had a great relationship with his mother while Mary was fond of her own child in her narrative. “About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life… I must and could lie down next to my dead babe, side by side all the night after.” (2) Neither Olaudah Equiano nor Mary Rowlandson ended their stories with the family members they were most fond of. Equiano’s captivity was the reason why he was stripped from his mother while Rowlandson’s baby died during her captivity. In trying times such as these, Rowlandson prayed to God for aid.

Being a faithful Puritan, Rowlandson often read her bible during difficult times. She would find and read Psalms that related to her own life’s problems and conflicts. Although Mary Rowlandson turned to God in her times of need, Olaudah Equiano did not once mention any sort of a god. Rowlandson believed that with her faith in God and to feel sorry for past conducts, she would be forgiven and promised that curses will be turned onto her enemies. “I came to chapter 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by...
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