The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings - Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis

Three years pass. Equiano proves to be an able seaman, and he knows English quite well by now. While on shore, he visits a Miss Guerins who informs him he should be baptized or else he cannot get into heaven. At her insistence, Equiano is baptized.

Equiano accompanies his master on a journey to the Mediterranean. While on shore on way to Gibraltar, Equiano is told that someone knows his long-lost sister. He is taken to the woman, but she is not his sister. Equiano is next told that a ship is joining him, and on board is Richard Baker. His joy is short-lived, for Equiano learns that Richard Baker died in an expedition.

Equiano's ship stops at Barcelona, and he enjoys some time there, for the Spanish are very kind and they bring the ship all sorts of fruits and other goods.

They reach Gibraltar, and in the middle of the night there comes word that a French fleet is near. There is a great hurry and confusion to get the ships ready for war. The English fleet then chases the French fleet for hours, until they catch the ships. A furious cannon battle ensues (Equiano is amazed at how deafening the noise is), until finally the French line is broken and the English fleet victorious. The English claim three French ships, while the other ships flee. In their hurry a couple fleeing French ships run aground, and are blown up when it is decided they cannot be unloosed from the earth.

Equiano's job in the fight is to run powder to guns. He sees many men blown up in front of his face, but he escapes unhurt. His master is injured and spends some time with the surgeon getting patched up. Equiano is in great danger running explosive powder amid French gunfire on the deck.

Equiano's ship is badly damaged in the battle. Equiano's master recovers and they board a smaller ship bound to help bring the captured French ships back to port. As a result of a large delay Equiano guesses is due to the English king's death, Equiano spends nearly all of the year 1760 stationed at the Isle of Wight, where he improves himself by reading and writing.

In March of 1761 Equiano's master takes to sea once again. During their next journey, Equiano's ship is nearly sunk by a "friendly fire" incident in which an English ship accidentally rams it. The ship completely destroys the cabin of a recently born again Christian named John Mondle, with Mondle barely escaping with his life, a miracle Equiano ascribes to providence. After much effort, the ship is saved from sinking.

The proceeding city siege against the French lasts until June, when the English take the city. Equiano then spends most of the year on board ship when the fleet attacks another French fleet, blockading them. During this time, Equiano sees a lot of military action, and many strategies tried by one or the other fleet to outwit their enemy.

After this action ends, Equiano's ship returns to Portsmouth, and in December 1762 there is word that the war is over. Equiano and his master return to London to get paid by the royal navy, and Equiano rejoices that peace is at hand and that he will be able to continue his studies by becoming a free man and acquiring an education.

However, before they leave ship, Equiano's master has other plans and suddenly turns very cruel, ordering Equiano to stay on board under threat of violence. Equiano is under the assumption that, since he has worked for his master for years and his master takes all his navy earnings, Equiano has paid his way out of servitude. However, Equiano's master (Pascal) is intent on selling him like a slave to another ship, denying him freedom. Equiano is sold, despite his passionate objection, to one Captain Doran and is put on board Doran's ship. Equiano's shipmates are on Equiano's side and believe they are witnessing a grave injustice. Equiano ends the chapter filled with sorrow and despair.

This section contains 684 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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