Thursday, February 7, 2008

Olaudah Equiano - Question & Answer

Comprehension Check Questions:
1. For what crimes were slaves punished? And what was the punishment?
-The slaves were punished if they got caught trying to run away. The punishment they suffered was that the slave owner would beat them for trying to run away. Sometimes all the slaves were punished for one slave’s mistake or flight for freedom. The master would starve them to teach them a lesson. So the other slaves wouldn’t try to runaway because they know if they did their family and friend would suffer.

Critical Thinking Questions:
2. Interpret: Why does Equiano blame the illness aboard the ship on the “improvident avarice” of the traders?
-Equiano blame the illness aboard the ship on the “improvident avarice” of the traders because the ship that the traders forced the slaves to occupy on their journey was very disgusting. The slaves didn’t have enough space to move around in. They didn’t get much fresh air and if they need to do their business they need it to do it in the ship on the spot they were sitting. The environment they were forced to occupy was unclean so disease spread easily and many people got sick and died.

Support from the text:
3. How can you tell that Equiano has a great zest for life despite his assertion that he wanted to die?
-"During our passage I first saw flying fishes, which surprised me very much: they used frequently to fly across the ship, and many of them fell on the deck. I also now first saw the use of the quadrant; I had often with astonishment seen the mariners make observations with it, and I could not think what it meant. They at last took notice of my surprise and one of them, willing to increase it, as well as to gratify my curiosity made me one day look through it. The clouds appeared to me to be land, which disappeared as they passed along. This heightened my wonder; and I was now more persuaded than ever that I was in another world, and that every thing about me was magic."
"As every object was new to me everything I saw filled me with surprise. What struck me first was that the houses were built with stories, and in every other respect different from those in Africa: but I was still more astonished on seeing people on horseback. I did not know what this could mean; and indeed I thought these people were full of nothing but magical arts."
- Equiano knew that his future would be horrible because he is separated from his sister. Even though he had suffered in the ship. The new things he saw in his journey inspired him to live his life and hope that one day he will he will be able to get his freedom and experience all these "magical" things.

4. Infer: What does this passage reveal about the author?
-This passage reveals that the author who wrote this passage experienced first hand from maybe one of his ancestor who is still alive. He knows what the slaves had to face in their lives. He knows how much the slaves have suffered throughout their lives and how they were tortured and their lives destroyed.

Thematic Focus:

6. When one culture dominates another, what troubles might society face?
when one culture dominates another the society faces trouble. They fight among each other. There are violent fight for freedom. There also war between the nation to see who can try to best take control of the other.

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