The fact that the only people willing to work with Olaudah Equiano were black and Dutch Creole, clearly shows that despite a black man’s free status there would be a power disparity between black and white. While the other sailors became drunk and “lay about the deck like swine,” Olaudah Equiano and his companions worked hard to save them all. Perhaps having achieved freedom through hard work made him value his life more, and given him a greater reason to desire to work for it, or living as a slave had given him a different mentality: work was to be done, so do it.
Despite the sailors refusal of assistance Olaudah Equiano and his fellow black companions carried the sailors to safety, undergoing great pains and hardship. This demonstrates me great loyalty and a Christian love. While Olaudah Equiano later seeks God more in depth later in the book, this is a key moment that he shows his audience that while he could have abandoned these men, he did not and sacrificed his hands and endured pain for men who clearly did not care for him. Perhaps his experience as a child in Africa instilled a sense of community in him, and he took care of his companions despite their indifference to their situation. Olaudah Equiano’s ingenuity and attentiveness to seeing that they did not drown immediately probably saved all of the crew and their lives. If his companions had not chosen to drink themselves into a stupor, it is possible that they would have found a solution sooner. Olaudah Equiano had grown up in an environment that did not have alcohol, and it is possible that he as a slave had never had the chance to develop a taste for the alcoholic drinks, so that in this situation, it served him well. While the sailors refused to assist him, I also wonder if it’s possible if they insisted that he work while they drank? Or perhaps they refused him alcohol, thinking it a waste of liquor, and out of boredom or desperation Olaudah Equiano and his companions chose to work. It is clear...
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