The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings - Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

Equiano's near brush with death near the North Pole makes him very anxious about the afterlife and his salvation. He endeavors to find a religion to devote himself to. He attends many services and listens to religious people from many religions, including the Quakers, Jews, and Roman Catholics, but he does not find the enlightenment he craves. He reads the first four books of the New Testament himself, and finds himself very attracted to Christ and his qualities. He decides the Turks are the most Christ-like people he has encountered, and so he boards a ship bound for Turkey.

The journey goes badly. A black man on board, John Annis, who has been freed by his master, is nonetheless pursued by that same master, who now wishes to recapture the man. The master boards Equiano's ship and forcibly kidnaps John Annis. Equiano is outraged at this behavior, and pursues this master in England in a bid to make him give up Annis. Unfortunately, Equiano tracks down Annis but it is too late, and Annis has already been sent off to the West Indies. Equiano hears that the man was flogged mercilessly once he arrived, and he finally dies from such punishment soon after. This wickedness in life makes Equiano even more serious about a religious conversion, and he prays to God to give him an answer to his doubt and anxiety.

He finds an answer in a chance encounter with old fisherman in his cottage. This man speaks plainly about Christ, and Equiano finds much to admire in the man's relationship with God. The fisherman is a member of a "Dissenting" group of Christians, probably Protestants excluded from the official Church of England. A Dissenting minister visits Equiano and the fisherman, and Equiano is invited to a service. At the service, Equiano is overcome with what he perceives as true Christian fellowship, and it appears he has found his congregation. The fisherman gives Equiano a little book called "The Conversion of an Indian" which Equiano finds very valuable in his religious journey.

In order to support himself, Equiano must again take to the sea. He is disgusted by all the sailors who do not fear or believe in God, and who take His name in vain. He asks repeatedly to be dropped off from the ship, but the captain refuses. However, on board on the night of October 6th, Equiano undergoes a spiritual revelation, feeling as if he is "born again" as referenced in scripture. He feels God has shown him the way, and he is free of sin and evil, and certain of salvation. He rejoices and wants to share his new life, but no one on board is a believer.

Finally he arrives back in England where he finds ready listeners to his story. During a sermon by a noted holy man, Reverend Romaine, Equiano gains clarification on one point of Christian doctrine he is confused about—whether salvation is achieved through the doing of good works, or if faith alone suffices. Equiano comes out of the sermon assured that faith, love, and obedience are all that are required for salvation. At the end of the chapter, Equiano states that he does not fear death anymore and he in fact anticipates it, for it will result in him becoming closer to God.

This section contains 563 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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