"The Middle Passage" by Olaudah Equiano

Topics: Atlantic slave trade, Middle Passage, Slavery Pages: 3 (754 words) Published: December 19, 2013
"The Middle Passage" by Olaudah Equiano

“The Middle Passage” from “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Myself” is a traumatic narrative of the horrors suffered by the Africans slaves of the 18th century, which has touched my heart. No human being should ever have to endure what the African slaves and their families endured during slavery and voyage through the “The Middle Passage”. The Middle Passage was called the route of the triangular trade through the Atlantic Ocean in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade.

The author starts by giving details of the terrible conditions that he encounters on board of a slave ship. An example of the terrible condition in which the slaves lived is narrated by Equiano (2013) as: “The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any time…” (1388) “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” (p.1388).

The conditions the Africans slaves endured during the Middle Passage were horrific; no human being should be force to live in such deplorable conditions. The lack of freedom on the slave ships caused great distress to the enslaved Africans. They were treated as cargo, chained one with the other and had to perform their bodily functions while chained. They were also forced to sleep cramped together few of them barely escaped without their limbs atrophying. They rarely had enough to eat or drink, and would grow sick in drove, than many of them wanted to die instead of living a life full of cruelties. The slaves were so tired of the detrimental conditions in which they have been forced to live in slave ships, under the most abominable and hellish hygienic conditions i that they preferred to die,...

References: Equiano, Olaudah (2013), The Middle Passage from “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano 's, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Myself”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th Major Author’s edition, Abrams, Ed. W.W. Norton & Company, New York.
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