Olaudah Equiano

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The Horrid Journey
If it were not for the stories past down from generation to generation or the documentations in historical books, the history of the twelve million African slaves that traveled the “Middle Passage” in miserable conditions would not exist. Olaudah Equiano contributes to this horrid history with The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Through this narrative, the appalling personal experience of each slave is depicted. He accomplishes his rhetorical purpose of informing the world of the slave experience in this narrative. His use of unique style and rhetorical devices in this conveying narrative portray his imperative rhetorical purpose.

Throughout Equiano’s works, a unique style is evident. This unique style is composed of high diction, complex sentence structure, and conveying imagery which contribute to his purpose of depicting the slave experience. His elevated diction consists of words such as “improvident,” “copious,” “pestilential,” and “avarice” (45). This word choice enforces and strengthens the meaning of his sentences allowing them to convey to the reader at a higher level. Furthermore, these words portray his elevated level of education creating him into a credible source. Moreover, Equiano uses complex sentence structure that consists of excessive punctuation such as: “One day they had taken a number of fishes; and when they had killed and satisfied themselves with as many as they thought fit, to our astonishment who were on deck, rather than give any of them to us to eat, as we expected, they tossed the remaining fish into the sea again, although we begged and prayed for some as well as we could, but in vain; and some of my countrymen, being pressed by hunger, took an opportunity, when they thought no one saw them, of trying to get a little privately; but they were discovered, and the attempt procured them some very sever floggings” (46). A perfect example of his intricate sentence structure, this...
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