Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa Term Paper by Nicky

Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa
A discussion of Olaudah Equiano's duel African and European identity.
# 128316 | 1,425 words | 2 sources | APA | 2008 | US

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper discusses the serious doubts many have as to Olaudah Equiano's roots and how some assert that Equiano may have invented rather than reclaimed an African identity. The paper considers how Equiano presented himself as an African and why Equiano adopted a complicated notion of self-identity. The paper discusses how even after publishing his book, "The Interesting Narrative", critics in London doubted that he could have written it himself. The paper opines that given the slavery and racism at the time, it is not hard to relate to the skepticism of Caucasian editors and critics regarding a black man's writing skills.

Questions for Consideration

From the Paper:

"Olaudah Equiano and Gustavus Vassa are of course the same person with two distinct identities. Equiano did not choose Gustavus Vassa as a name; Equiano became known as Gustavus Vassa because an officer in the British Royal Navy gave it to him, a slave owner named Michael Henry Pascal. Having a name like Gustavus Vassa apparently gave Equiano (in the eyes of Pascal) more European legitimacy and dignity. And it matched up near perfectly with Equiano's desire to be modern, polite, educated and polished like Caucasians. And so there were clear purposes to this duel identity: a) being Equiano gave the man a link to his native culture and gave him justification to write at length of his slave experiences. And b) being Vassa gave the man a European identity and the credibility to write and have his work published as a man of letters and vast New World experience."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Carretta, Vincent. (2005). Equiano The African: Biography of a Self-Made Man. Athens: TheUniversity of Georgia Press.
  • Lovejoy, Paul E. (2007). Issues of Motivation - Vassa/Equiano and Carretta's Critique of theEvidence. Slavery and Abolition, 28(1), 121-125.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa (2010, July 11) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/olaudah-equiano-gustavus-vassa-128316/

MLA Format

"Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa" 11 July 2010. Web. 07 June. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/olaudah-equiano-gustavus-vassa-128316/>