The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings - Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 605 words
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Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

Equiano is the youngest of six sons and a daughter. He is a favorite of his mother. He is taught from a very early age both agriculture and warfare, in the form of javelin-throwing. He grows up in this way until age eleven, when he and his sister are kidnapped from home while all the adults are away tending the fields. His kidnappers, two men and a woman, force the two to walk for two days, stopping only briefly at a small house. Equiano tries to cry out and is gagged and put into a sack. To his great horror, Equiano is then separated from his sister, who is taken elsewhere, and for days Equiano does not eat and has to be forcibly fed. After changing several hands, he lands as a slave in the house of a kind chieftain and his family, who treat him well. He helps the man work the bellows in his goldsmith shop.

After a month, Equiano is given a little freedom to move about the estate, and his thoughts turn to escape. One day, to pass the time, he throws a pebble at a chicken and accidentally kills it. Fearing punishment, he runs away and hides in a thicket. The village searches for him but he is too well-hidden. After several hours, scared and hungry, he leaves the thicket and collapses from exhaustion back in his master's kitchen. Equiano receives only a slight reprimand for his behavior.

Soon after he is sold again and taken on a long, hard journey. During several months on the road he acquires two other languages. Equiano chances upon his lost sister once again and they share a temporary happy reunion over a night until once again she is taken away. Equiano is eventually sold to a merchant in a prosperous town called Tinmah, where he is treated very well and allowed to eat with the family, to the point he almost forgets he is a slave.

However, after two months, he is again sold, and taken on a huge journey of six or seven months, encountering various cultures and lands, until at last he reaches the sea coast. He is amazed and terrified at the large slave-ship waiting for him, for he has never seen its like. He encounters white men, Europeans, for the first time and marvels at their white skin and long hair. He is brought aboard and faints when he realizes his fate by viewing the black people in chains on deck. He wakes up amid these slaves. He fears they are being prepared to be eaten by the white people, but he is assured that is not the case. Over the next days, Equiano becomes so depressed he cannot eat, and he is flogged for refusing to eat. He wishes for death to take him.

Soon after, he is forced to switch ships, all the time marveling at the "magic" used by the white men to move ships on the water and make them stop. The slaves are forced to remain below deck on this ship, and the crowded space and lack of hygiene soon lead to an epidemic, in which many slaves die. The conditions are filthy and horrifying. Equiano characterizes the whites as very cruel, as when they dine on fish but dump the leftovers back in the water rather than feed the starving, pleading blacks.

They eventually land in Barbados, and Equiano again marvels at the magic of the Europeans: horses and great houses made of brick. He is herded into a pen and eventually sold at auction.

This section contains 605 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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