4 June 2015
Gratitude of Ash Phillis Wheatley drew attention in the 18thcentury for being a black slave, and a child prodigy who was able to write poems and songs. She was born in Gambia, Africa, and brought to Boston as a slave when she was a child, and became slave and companion to John Wheatley’s wife. As she grew older, John Wheatley’s wife viewed her as a feeble and brilliant girl who deserves to be educated and felt great affection toward her. Therefore, Susanna Wheatley’s daughters taught Phillis how to read and write, so she delivered her honest opinions through her writings (Baym and Levine 763). Then she became the first African American writer to publish a book of poetry while other slaves were forbidden to learn how to read and write. Her ability to write and read gave her freedom of expression and enabled her to become a free woman. Her literacy influenced her surroundings in numerous ways. She was acknowledged by many people for her great poetical talents (“Phillis Wheatley, the First” para 3). In the poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” Phillis Wheatley appeals to ethos and pathos, uses suitable diction and a metaphor to demonstrate that the discrimination of Africans is barbarous, and encourages people to not judge by physical characteristics, but consider innate qualities. Wheatley conveys her message through credibility as a young slave by sharing her experience.
Twas mercy brought me from my pagan land,