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The Middle Passage Essay Sample

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Portugal found out about selling slaves for profit by sheer luck. The first slave purchase is said to have taken place in when the Portuguese caught two African males while they were along the coast. The Africans in the nearby village paid them in gold for their return. Slave traders used many slave forts to protect themselves and their shipments. This was a way of guarding themselves against any attackers.

It was also a way of holding slaves until they could be sold and shipped to the New World. The Africans were sold in many ways. They were sold to traders by other Africans, and eventually forced into slavery by men with guns. From here, slaves were placed aboard ships to be taken across the Atlantic on a voyage that was eventually coined "the middle passage. Africans were chained and packed into quarters unfit for movement or proper breathing. The only hope of escape rested in suicide by jumping overboard.

With the British Parliament's outlaw of the slave trade in , the naval superpower set sail to enforce total European abolition. The Society of Friends, along with other such concerned parties, published accounts of the horrific middle passage to distribute amongst still practicing nations.

These accounts, supported by memoirs such as Oladuah Equiano's, who survived the journey, informed the masses and catalyzed the destruction of slavery. The atrocities continued once the Africans arrived in the West Indies, but resistance began to grow once on the plantation. In the West Indies, slaves searched for an outlet to vent their frustrations. To be successful in alleviating their frustrations and resisting in some way, slaves had to unite.

One of the more popular ways slaves accomplished this was through the Christian religion. When it was allowed by the planters, Christianized slaves could resist the institution of slavery by looking to God.

The ideals that Christianity held were easy for Africans to understand and adapt. Doing so meant that the slaves would lose some of their African heritage, but the plusses far outweighed the minuses.

Slaves "Africanized" Christianity in the West Indies and thus created a new culture among them. Those who chose, or who were allowed, to be baptized were successful at resisting slavery and uniting together with a common interest in God. Johnson, like his forebears in Enlightenment skepticism and Romantic irony, is what we, with our limited grasp of literary history, would call a postmodern metafictionist: He seduces the reader with all manner of adventure, from shipwreck to marriage plot, even as he comments on his literary precursors.

Here is the tale: So Calhoun takes to to the sea, stowing away on the semi-ironically named Republic , an illegal slaver under the command of Captain Falcon—a man who represents the best and worst of America, its endless willful individualist determination that respects no traditions and its consequent neglect of or violence toward other persons who would get in the way of the expansive self.

Eventually, the Allmuseri are captured and then they rebel in turn, commandeering the Republic and inverting its moral universe as they attempt to return to Africa. The second half of the novel narrates how Calhoun survives these calamities at sea and what he learns from the moral quandaries they raise. As noted above, Middle Passage wears any number of influences on its sleeve, but its presiding author-deities are Melville and Ellison. If this weird, upside-down caricature of a country called America, if this land of refugees and former indentured servants, religious heretics and half-breeds, whoresons and fugitives—this cauldron of mongrels from all points on the compass—was all I could rightly call home , then aye: I was of it.

Brother, I put it to you: Through his characters, Johnson gently mocks Afrocentrism and related reductive forms of identitarian rebellion, while being quite clear about the horrifying circumstances that made and make them seem reasonable or necessary. They thus betray the best of their own worldview, which is incarnated in their language: Because the ego is an illusion Johnson, by the bye, is a Buddhist and the self a composite, it is all the more valuable in its variety, through which the elemental unity streams Johnson, by the bye, wrote an introduction to a collection of Emerson, wherein he praises the Transcendentalist almost unstintingly.

Any ideology that would try to freeze that variety, whether in the name of domination or resistance, is a sin against the world-spirit. But Falcon elsewhere in the novel explains to Calhoun the logical terminus of the separation between knower and known Johnson, by the bye, has a Ph. Dualism is a bloody structure of the mind. Subject and object, perceiver and perceived, self and other—these ancient twins are built into the mind like the steam-piece of a merchantman.

We cannot think without them, sir. And what, pray, kin such a thing mean? They are signs of a transcendental Fault, a deep crack in consciousness itself. Mind was made for murder.

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The Middle Passage The middle passage was the journey of the slave ships from the west coast of Africa, across the Atlantic, to North America. This voyage is referred to as the middle passage because it was the middle leg of a trade route that developed between North America, Europe, and Africa.

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Free Essay: The Middle Passage (or Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade) was a voyage that took slaves from Africa to the Americas via tightly packed ships. The trade. Middle Passage The Middle Passage was the stage of the Triangular Trade where slaves was shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade. The slaves were sold or exchanged for goods. The slaves were sold or exchanged for goods.

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The Middle Passage Essay The period of time and travel was also a time of slavery and suffering for blacks all across Africa. The Middle Passage, also known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade, was a long voyage that took packed African slaves into a ship like sardines and took them to America. The Middle Passage was the journey of slave trading ships from the west coast of Africa, where the slaves were obtained, across the Atlantic, where they were sold or, in some cases, traded for goods such as molasses, which was used in the making of rum.