Equiano Questions Chapters 1 and 2, By: Laura Graham

Why did Equiano apologize at the beginning of chapter 2?

I hope the reader will not think I have trespassed on his patience in introducing myself to him with some account of manners and customs of my country.”

I believe he wanted to apologize because some of the customs about his country could be gruesome or shocking for some people to hear, like when he says if a woman is caught committing adultery she would be put to death, but if she had a child her life would be spared. But if a man was caught cheating nothing bad would happen to him. Which if you ask me, is wrong, I think they should both be treated fairly and not be killed for their actions. Another reason he might have apologized could have been because of the way he is talking because it sounds like he might be talking to another person and felt like he was talking about himself too much and didn’t really hear a lot about the other persons life. He also could have been apologizing because he was talking about his life as a slave and not as much about his life before he became a slave.

Why was Equiano separated from his sister again?

When people knew we were brother and sister they indulged us to be together; and the men, to whom I supposed we belonged, lay with us, he in the middle, while she and I held one another by the hands across his breast all night; and thus for a while we forgot our misfortune in the joy of being together: but even this small comfort was soon to have an end; for scarcely had a fatal morning appeared, when she was again torn from me forever!”

Maybe one of the reasons they got separated again was because they needed his sister for a specific job that men aren’t meant to do. They could have also be separated because the slave owners thought after some time that siblings shouldn’t be together because they may get distracted from their work to make sure that one another is okay and safe. Another reason he could have been separated from his sister could have been because she was sold to another slave owner, who didn’t want to take both of them, and just wanted women. One last reason they could have been separated could have been because she did something bad and they had to find a way to punish her and the only way to do that would be taking her away from her brother again. I hope they find a way to reconnect later on in the story because I would hate for that to be the last time he ever saw his sister.

2 thoughts on “Equiano Questions Chapters 1 and 2, By: Laura Graham

  1. Being separated from family is unfortunately a very common part of horrible events like this one. I’ve always wondered what would bring a person force that onto someone, so I’m glad you brought it up here. I would imagine the reasoning would depend on what the slave owner wanted out of a person, and I think all the possibilities you listed are “reasonable” for the time (I put reasonable in quotes because in reality nothing about this is reasonable).

  2. I love your take on the first question. I feel Equiano was almost ahead of his time when he realized how bad things actually were, so the almost trigger warning as you subtly referred to is pretty funny. I also thought your second question was a very interesting one to think about. It may have been answered in the middle chapters, I wouldn’t personally but I thought your theories were pretty strong.

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