The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Explain Equiano's culture shock

explain Equiano's culture shock

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Equiano refers to numerous instances of culture shock throughout the novel. One example would be his interaction and thoughts on the brutality of the slave owners and their employees.

‘…the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among my people such instances of brutal cruelty’.

Later, he describes the shock of being in the home of a "white" man.

‘…when I immediately after observed a picture hanging in the room which appeared constantly to look at me, I was still more affrighted having never seen such things as these before. At one time I thought it was something relative to magic, and not seeing it move, I thought it might be some way the whites had to keep their great men when they died and offer them libation as we used to do to our friendly spirits.’

Another culture shock had to do with geography and climate, as Equiano was exposed to a world like he's never known. 

‘One morning when I got upon deck, I saw it covered all over with the snow that fell overnight: as I had never seen anything of the kind before, I thought it was salt, so I immediately ran down to the mate and desired him, as well as I could, to come and see how somebody in the night had thrown salt all over the deck.’