The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Reading Check - What conditions on the ship caused many of the slaves to die?

Question - What conditions on the ship caused many of the slaves to die ?

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Slaves were chained to the hold and had to perform their bodily functions while chained. Excrement and refuse were everywhere, and the air was heavy with noxious, harmful smells. There was no privacy, even for women and girls. Slaves could not move about, and barely escaped without their limbs atrophying. They rarely had enough to eat or drink, and would grow sick in droves. The cries of pain, terror, and grief filled the air at all times. Many had no idea why they were there, and were frightened of the white faces on the ship. Individuals were severed from their families and thrust together with strangers whose languages they could not speak. Many were beaten mercilessly. It was so terrible that many slaves wished for death, but even this was rarely possible by one's own volition. Equiano's account is a valuable source for examining the realities of the slave system, for its evocative writing and historical perspective.