1. The four documents analyzed all seem to view the various elements of slavery in a different light. The text takes a more historical approach in conveying what occurred; whereas the other three readings all seem to be written by someone who put their own spin on it. The piece by Olaudah Equiano definitely seems to reveal more of a raw emotion than any intended spin with the purpose of distorting what occurred. However, the document by Hugh Jones (though a former W&M professor) does not seem to give slavery the sense of cruelty and viciousness that it deserves. While Equianoâ€™s writing is obviously more directed at revealing what exactly it was like to be cast into slavery, Jones is attempting to portray the culture that is forming as a result of the massive influx of slaves into the area.
Q: With each document seemingly taking a different angle on slavery in general and keeping in mind the social position of each writer, is it fair to pick and choose what we want out of the separate pieces? Or should the documents be handled as an all or nothing analysis?
A: In my opinion, if a reader is able to recognize certain biases in a writer, then he/she is also able to decipher the truth from the opinion. For example, assuming that Equianoâ€™s document is an accurate reflection of his actual story, it can be considered a fairly accurate account of what occurred. However, certain statements could be construed as inaccurate even though it was not the intention of the writer to mislead the reader. â€œI asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red facesâ€¦â€ This is an example of Equiano revealing how he saw his captors. This description may not have been entirely accurate, and observed by others may have been portrayed differently. It is up to the reader to engage the document and its context to analyze it correctly.
Jones, on the other hand, attempts to por