Olaudah Equiano Rhetorical Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis of The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano

In his autobiography “The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano” Olaudah Equiano uses his knowledge and experiences gained while in slavery to convey his feelings about slavery. Through his experiences Equiano builds a strong and believable base for his arguments, some being that slavery is inhumane, barbaric, corrupts good people, and very uncivilized. Equiano creatively incorporates three main strategies during his novel to support his beliefs. By using enticing anecdotes, strong logos and heart-wrenching pathos Equiano builds a strong argument of why slavery should be abolished.

Through Equiano’s use of anecdotes he paints a vivid image in his readers’ minds of what slavery is truly like making them realize that slavery is nothing like one big happy family as many imagined. During Equiano’s voyage he, a young boy at the time, sees and experiences many horrible things. He speaks of how he was “flogged mercilessly” for refusing to eat. The recollection allows his audience to witness the barbarity of slavery and just how unpleasant it was for the slaves. Also while aboard, Equiano witnesses how slavery corrupts good people while watching some of the boat’s crew beat a fellow crewman to death for being in favor of the slaves. This anecdote clearly shows how slavery is not like a big happy family, but instead is survival of the fittest.

Through pathos Equiano tries to evoke sorrow and pity for the slaves in the slave trade. One instance of this comes during his journey after capture when he is reunited with his sister, but shortly after this reconnection they are ripped back apart possibly for forever. In this event Equiano tries to show the inner pain felt by him and make his readers feel the sorrow of the slaves that are having their family’s being ripped apart. There are many other accounts of Equiano trying to evoke pity and sorrow in his autobiography one being while he was on the ship....
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