Lanier's Reviews > Oroonoko the Royal Slave [Easyread Edition]

Oroonoko the Royal Slave [Easyread Edition] by Aphra Behn
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's review
Jul 20, 08

Read in July, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Refreshing to get yet another historical literary account of colonial South America from a FEMALE. Unfortunately, due to her gender, critics of the day didn't quite give Behn's personal accounts the full attention or credit they deserved. True she does seem to fictionalize some of the actions that she only received from the lead subject and other personally witnessed events, but like the recent attempts to debunk Olaudah Equiano's slave narratives, she only gives critics fodder for attacks in this informative epistolary prose. What's next trying to tell us that Achebe wasn't Nigerian!!!

After reading this short piece, however, Behn's ending goes completely against the protagonist's character. How can this guy be so frigging strong and brave and lose all his energy in the grief of killing Imoinda to save her from a worse fate, never to truly avenge her and his humiliation? This piece of trash should be called, "Oroonoko: The Royal Failure”. I'm sure her purpose was to draw light to the cruelties of slavery, since most of Oroonoko's term as a slave was tame until the rebellion, but she could have done it more realistically. I mean depression kills, sure, but not 10 pages earlier you mention O's--aka Caesar's prowess in hunting, fishing and knowledge of herbs and flowers, yet he withers away, in mourning???

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