The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings - Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

The Nancy sloop gets a new captain, named Phillips, and Equiano once again sets sail after King begs him to remain working for him. On the journey, Equiano has nightly dreams about the ship wrecking. He also "damns" the ship vocally when he is pumping water. Soon after, the ship gets dangerously close to currents that could dash the ship against rocks. The new captain, despite repeated warnings, seems unconcerned or ignorant of the danger, and refuses to go on deck. By the time Phillips finally does go on deck, the ship hits rocks and gets stuck. Equiano attributes the disaster to his sin of damning the ship.

Phillips orders the hatches to be nailed shut, so that the slaves below deck cannot overwhelm the crew and take over the rescue boats. Equiano yells at Phillips for being an incompetent captain, and because of Equiano's influence the hatches are not nailed and so the slaves are not doomed to drown. Equiano essentially takes over, patching a rip in the ship's hull with leather and grease, and leading a team of rowers who, in five or so trips, manage to get everyone off the boat and onto a nearby island. Phillips and most of the white crew are incompetent and useless, having given up and become drunk in their despair.

Equiano again leads the crew in setting up shelter and ensuring food on the deserted island (later revealed to be one of the Bahama islands). The crew catches fish and sets up tents. They are initially frightened when a pack of flamingoes are mistaken for "cannibals" but when the pack flies off their fears subside.

It takes eleven days to repair the sloop enough to travel. Freeing the boat from the rocks, Equiano, Captain Phillips, and others journey to find an inhabited island. They spend several days camping on islands in desperate search of drinkable water, and in fear of wild beasts. Finally they spy a ship and hail it. The ship's crew happens to be in a very similar situation; their own whaling schooner has wrecked and they have left people on an island. The crews join forces and set off for the island still full of Equiano's people. They arrive and provide some much-needed food and water. Then, Equiano goes off with several men in the little sloop they have found to travel to New Providence to seek help for both crews.

On the way, they suffer through a terrible storm with gale winds that nearly beach the ship. However, finally, they arrive at New Providence. Equiano spends almost three weeks there, looking for a trip to Georgia, and finally his Captain Phillips arranges one. However, on the first day out on the new ship, the ship encounters fierce winds and is nearly dashed against the rocks. The crew returns to New Providence to get refitted and repaired, with some claiming Phillips' crew has a curse on them.

However, the crew arrives in Georgia. Equiano has a couple of unpleasant experiences during his stay. He is nearly flogged for having a light on after 9 P.M., despite being a free man. In another episode, two white men try to kidnap him and pass him off as an escaped slave, but Equiano resists fiercely, knowing this common trick. Equiano speaks English too well for the men to succeed in their ruse, and so he is let free. Equiano ends the chapter on a sloop bound for Martinico.

This section contains 585 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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