There are various things that make up a piece of literature. For example: choice of diction, modes of discourse, and figurative language. Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano were great examples of authors that used these elements of literature. There are similarities and differences in A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and From Africa to America. Though Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano shared similarities in experiences, they had different writing personalities, purposes, attitudes, tones, and relations with their communities.
There are four main modes of discourse: expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive. In Mary Rowlandson’s A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, it is apparent in the title that it is a narrative. Like Mrs. Rowlandson’s literature, Olaudah Equiano’s From Africa to America is a narrative. A narrative form of literature is a story, account of events, or experiences, whether it is true or fictitious. In this case their stories were their real experiences and they gave the reader actual facts and information, also making it expository.
The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. ” (73) This is a perfect example showing that Olaudah Equiano’s narrative is also descriptive, giving the reader vivid images in his mind, whereas Rowlandson’s narrative rarely has descriptive content. These works of literature may also be portrayed as persuasive by the quote of, “.
. Overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition.. ” (7) Mary Rowlandson was overwhelmed with her emotions.
This quote may persuade the reader to think of how melancholy, or how difficult it is to be on a slave ship, and also being held captive by Indians. Both narratives are similar in the experiences the two authors possessed. Both Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano were held captive at a time in their lives. White men captured Olaudah Equiano, while Mary Rowlandson had Indian captivators. Olaudah’s story tells of the time where he first saw the slave ship he was put on and the journey across great waters to the new world.
Rowlandson’s story tells of the apathy of the Indians and her stay with the tribe. It is apparent that the journey across the sea was horrible enough for the ship’s passengers to commit suicide by jumping off of the ship rather than staying on board with the putrid smell of human wastes and lack of ventilation. In a brief paragraph, Equiano wrote of his daily routine before his captivity. He mentioned the relationship he had with his mother, and how he was her favorite child. “I became, of course, the greatest favorite with my mother and was always with her. (72) Olaudah and Mary were alike because Olaudah had a great relationship with his mother while Mary was fond of her own child in her narrative. “About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life… I must and could lie down next to my dead babe, side by side all the night after. ” (2) Neither Olaudah Equiano nor Mary Rowlandson ended their stories with the family members they were most fond of. Equiano’s captivity was the reason why he was stripped from his mother while Rowlandson’s baby died during her captivity. In trying times such as these, Rowlandson prayed to God for aid.
Being a faithful Puritan, Rowlandson often read her bible during difficult times. She would find and read Psalms that related to her own life’s problems and conflicts. Although Mary Rowlandson turned to God in her times of need, Olaudah Equiano did not once mention any sort of a god. Rowlandson believed that with her faith in God and to feel sorry for past conducts, she would be forgiven and promised that curses will be turned onto her enemies. “I came to chapter 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance.. (3) Rowlandson quoted Psalm 27 ver. ult. , “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say, on the Lord. ” (3) This quote showed that Rowlandson had an undying faith in the Lord. A relationship was held with the Lord for Rowlandson, and not Equiano. Although Equiano did not have a relationship with God, he and Rowlandson both had different types of relationships with their communities and peers. Mary Rowlandson had an apathetic relationship with the New England Wampanoag Indians. The tribe had no sympathy for the death of Mary’s six-year-old daughter.
The Indians took the young daughter from the mother and buried her on top of a hill. Though they buried the child for Rowlandson, they did not give the mother permission to look after the dead child nor let her keep the corpse with her. They had no sympathy because they told her she had to leave her child. Rowlandson had a fair relationship with the other woman and children that were also kidnapped. The other captives shared a faith in God with Mary. Mary read a Psalm to the other woman captive, who was pregnant and had the desire to escape and run away.
Mary read a Psalm that explained that God would help you hold on through hard times. (3) While Mary had relations with the people around her, Olaudah had his. Equiano had mainly fellow Africans as his peers. All of these Africans were in the same situation because they all were taken onto the slave ship from their homes to go to America as slaves to the white men. Olaudah did not speak at all to another person in his narrative, which showed that his relationship with his community was poor. The relationships these two authors had with their communities showed readers a little bit of their personalities.
It is apparent that Mary Rowlandson is more extrovert than Olaudah Equiano. Rowlandson communicated with the people she was surrounded by. Olaudah Equiano showed that he was more introvert than Mary Rowlandson because he did not attempt to have any sort of conversation with another being. He only spoke of what he saw going on in the lives of the people around him in his story, and there was no dialogue. Mary Rowlandson’s personality was more apparent than Olaudah Equiano’s because she showed that she was a caring woman. She did not want to leave her child behind, even though it was already dead.
Mary was also caring and loving because she took the time to go through bible scriptures and Psalms with another woman to give her the hope and guidance she needed from their Lord. Following the Lord was one of Mary’s main purposes in life. Mary Rowlandson used the rhetoric device appeal to authority in her literature. She spoke of God as if He were somehow relevant to every aspect of her life, whereas Equiano mainly used appeal to emotion in his work. Olaudah spoke of the slavery and apprehensions on the slave ship and in the new world. “..
Much dread and trembling among us and nothing but bitter cries to be heard all the night.. ” (74) There was also figurative language used in Mrs. Rowlandson’s excerpt. “My sweet babe like a lamb. ” (2) Mary might have compared her child to a lamb in order to describe her as a sweet, shy, pure and innocent girl. If thought religiously, this simile may have been said to show that we are all God’s children, because God was a Shepard and we are represented as His lambs. Both spoke of themselves in their stories in the first person and in plain style, referring to themselves as, “I. Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano had somewhat similar but different attitudes and tones. Both held captive, Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano felt all but jolly during their times of captivity. Olaudah did not even feel like he needed to eat food on his journey aboard the slave ship. “I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat. ” (72) Olaudah felt gloomy during this period of time. “.. With the loathsomeness of the stench and crying.. ” (72) Olaudah felt afraid and apprehensive during the ship ride. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, shrieks of the women, and groans of the dying, all of which rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. ” (73) Mary Rowlandson felt gloomy half of the time, while the other half of the time she felt hopeful towards God. “This sorrowful world.. ” (2) and Psalm 27 (3) are quotes from her excerpt that expressed the emotions she had. The emotions these authors had are elements that help to give the purposes of these narratives. A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs.
Mary Rowlandson and From Africa to America both have purposes to entertain and inform readers with their life experiences and tales. Mrs. Rowlandson’s provides faith and hope that trying times will be overcome by the love and mercy of God. Mr. Equiano’s tale informs readers of the grief that Africans went through because of the selfishness white men had to own slaves. Olaudah’s story may be seen as a reminder that people in the latest generation have things easy compared to the time he was alive. People should not take what they have for granted, for example freedom. The people of today have the most freedom than ever before.
Although two different authors wrote these works of literature, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and From Africa to America, both stories possessed similar and different elements of writing. These tales were worthy of comparing because they had various things to review, contrast, and realize, such as the worship they had or didn’t have for God, their experiences, and their styles. Mary Rowlandson and Olaudah Equiano were remarkable writers whose works will always be a part of America’s history for the various styles and purposes they had to share with their readers.