The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings - Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis

Once in Martinico, Equiano makes it his mission to get back to Montserrat, in time to say goodbye to his former master King and set sail for London. He is delayed when his current captain refuses to give him money Equiano let him borrow, and so Equiano (having no legal recourse, as a black man) must crew with the captain on several more journeys, pestering him to give back the money, until the captain finally does so. After a couple stops, Equiano lands in Montserrat.

Equiano relates the fate of the Nancy sloop to King. It turns out King has had his own misfortune; his house has been flooded and washed away. Though King wants Equiano to stay, Equiano is resolute, and King bids him farewell, even writing him a letter to attest to Equiano's good character.

After seven weeks, Equiano arrives in England with thirty-seven guineas to his name. He seeks out and finds an old acquaintance, Miss Guerins, who is glad to see him. He also encounters Pascal, his old master, who is not happy to see him and treats Equiano with contempt. Equiano asks Miss Guerins if she will help him to procure employment. Equiano says he wants to be a hairdresser. Guerins finds a friend of a friend, Dr. Irving, who takes Equiano in as an apprentice hairdresser. During this time, Equiano also finds time to learn the French horn, and learn arithmetic from a kind reverend.

However, Equiano soon finds he cannot live on his meager wages, and he endeavors to sail again for a decent income. He especially wants to see Turkey, and delights in the fact that a ship is soon setting sail for Turkey in need of a hairdresser. He joins the crew of the Delaware, captained by John Jolly.

They stop in fabulous places in Italy and around the Mediterranean before settling in Turkey. Equiano remarks that the Turks seem to tolerate blacks much better than Western Europe, and that he finds it odd to see women in their veils. After five months of decent living, the ship sails back for England laden with trade goods. The crew next makes a trip to Portugal, which Equiano enjoys.

Other stops include Genoa and Naples, cities which Equiano finds clean and beautiful. He witnesses an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and describes the busy marketplace in Smyrna, Turkey, which the crew returns to.

Eventually, to "try my fortune," Equiano again sails back to the West Indies, in April 1771. After this trip, Equiano joins a ship traveling to Jamaica. Like elsewhere in the West Indies, Equiano finds black slaves treated very poorly by whites on the island. Equiano gets back to London and, tired of the sea, rejoins his old hairdressing master. He hairdresses for a little less than two years, when the promise of an exciting expedition once again seduces him back to sea. The expedition is designed to find a "north-east passage" to India, led by Lord Mulgrave on a ship called the Race Horse.

They travel to the North Pole, encountering great cold and ice, and animals like whales and walruses. A great sheet of ice eventually prevents them from going any further. As they turn back, the weather turns even colder, and soon their ship is trapped in ice. Ice is sawed in such a way as to prevent the ship from being squeezed to pieces by allowing it a little pond to float in. They are faced with the grim reality of having to drag the ships across the ice in a desperate race to open water, but thankfully the weather changes and grows much milder, and so some ice disappears and the crew is able to find open water. After a journey of four months, the crew returns to England.

This section contains 639 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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