A Drudge’s Despair
Olaudah Equiano’s story made much more of an impact on me than any of the other stories. Equiano plays on people’s sentiments and morals by using rhetorical devices: ethos and pathos. His story appeals to me because I cannot conceive what it would be like to be persecuted and enslaved just because of the color of one’s skin, a trait that they cannot help. Because of the well-executed practice of rhetorical devices, I can imagine the trip of the Middle Passage, aboard the ship myself. The author, Olaudah Equiano, uses logos: vivid imagery and good, descriptive adjectives to aid the reader in connecting and visualizing his story. For example, in lines 81-83 Equiano states, “This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died.” The words Equiano used to describe make the reader feel and imagine the whole Middle Passage experience. Instead of just saying solely perspirations, he used the adjective copious. Also, instead of using the word smells by itself, Equiano described the smells as loathsome which bring the adjective to life on a visual level. In a second account, Olaudah Equiano uses sensory imagery once again (86). Using this type of imagery joins to the reader’s senses of smell, sight, hearing, and taste to aid in creating a mood. This narrative strikes my interest. Olaudah underwent such trial and torture as described thoroughly by himself. According to Olaudah, the trip he endured was definitely not enjoyable. Readers develop interest in this story because it appeals to their ethos or credibility. People trust that this story stands true because it comes straight from the source. Naïve and oblivious as to what occurs worldwide, Olaudah’s opinion and story remains unbiased. Therefore, he stands as a credible source. Ethos, along with the other two components of the triad: word choice and logos, support...
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