Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African-American woman in America to have publish a series of poems. Although having such an incredible recognition, her roots did not start in America. She was brought as a slave from Africa at a young age. She was sold and bought by the patriarch of the Wheatley family as a gift to his wife. Unlike other slave owners, Wheatley was encouraged to have an education. After having been taught to read, she came to know the bible; she later uses Christianity as a main theme is many of her poetry. Another recurring theme is race, such as in “On Being Brought from Africa to America (17??).” In the poem, she discusses her voyage to America as a slave and Christianity “saving” her [fix later]. There has been controversy about whether or not Phillis Wheatley sees her enslavement as a positive thing as it brought her to Christianity or as a negative as it took her freedom. By Wheatley’s use of allusion, symbolism, and tone, the audience is able
(line 1-2) It is possible to assume she is referring to her past. However, this line can be seen as a transformation of an individual. In Christianity, salvation is obtained by God’s mercy. Wheatley seems to be happy to have been brought to America, a land of Christianity. Notice that she uses the word “brought” instead of the similar sounding (and accurate) “bought,” as if to passively protest slavery. Her happiness is based on the fact that she found divine mercy in Christianity, and God alone – not
Phillis Wheatley is a gem of her time; the first African-American woman to have her poetry published. Though purchased as a slave, her life was far from most African-Americans during the 17th century. She was educated and became deeply rooted in her faith: Christianity. From an outsider, her life may be viewed as an adopted child rather than a slave to the Wheatley family. However, she did not forget where she came from or those less fortunate than herself. Wheatley used the education she was afforded and her new-found spirituality to fight against slavery through the use of words (751). One of the greatest examples of this is her poem “To the University of Cambridge, in New England” addressed to perhaps the well-educated group of
Alice Malsenior Walker, an African American born into poverty, came into this world on February 9, 1944 in Eatonon, Georgia. She was the youngest child of eight children born to Willie Lee and Minnie Tallulah Walkers. Both of her parents were sharecroppers as well as expert story tellers. Things were not easy for the Walkers and Alice often witnessed her mother’s frustration of having the burden to take care of eight children with little means. Even though children of share croppers were usually made to work the fields, Alice’s mother made sure that her kids received an education. Alice was brilliant at writing poetry.
Harriet Jacob and Phillis Wheatley, Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl and On Being Brought from Africa to America both presents the existential conditions of being a black woman in a male dominated society. Despite their years span differences, both author present different, yet similar views of enslavement in America where black women struggle to reclaim their humanity and seek freedom within their society. For both Harriet and Phillis, both women used literacy as their voice to raise concern for the plight of enslaved African-Americans, more specifically the women.
Phillis Wheatley’s first sentence, in a Letter to Samson Occom, was very long. There was at least five points she made in this sentence alone. This one sentence took up three-fourths of this letter. Phillis Wheatley’s main points are within this sentence. She is recognizing that Samson Occom observed the ‘negros’ natural rights. She is arguing that these rights are bringing hope to the African people and making like for them better, and less chaotic. Lastly, the final point she makes in the first sentence is that God will deliver them as he did the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.
In “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” the author, Phillis Wheatley uses diction and punctuation to develop a subtle ironic tone. The speaker, a slave brought from Africa to America by whites magnifies the discrepancy between the whites’ perception of blacks and the reality of the situation. The author, Phillis Wheatley is an African American women who was enslaved herself at the age of 7 from Africa and is the first African American to publish a book of poetry in the colonies. In this poem, the author expresses her feeling about enslavement and just like the other Natives, Wheatley did not completely want to be removed from the life she knew. Wheatley uses subtle irony in that she speaks well of the whites, but she is really
In 1771, Wheatley composed her first major work, "On an elegy to evangelist George Whitefield." After realizing Wheatley’s potential for excellence, Susannah Wheatley arranged a London publication of Wheatley’s poems. As a result of this, prominent Bostonians verified the book’s author as being Black. Britons praised the book, but criticized Americans for keeping its author enslaved. At this time, Americans were only interested in benefiting White America, and were not prepared for the fact that Britons would criticize their slave policy. In 1774, she wrote a letter repudiating slavery, which was reprinted and
In a time when Africans were stolen from their native lands and brought through the middle passage to a land that claimed was a free country, a small African girl, who would later be known as Phillis Wheatley, was sold in Boston in 1761. In the speech, “The Miracle of Black Poetry in America”, written by June Jordan, a well respected black poet, professor and activist, wrote the speech in 1986, 200 years after Phillis walked the earth, to honor the legacy of the first black female poet for the people of the United States. Jordan, passionately alludes to the example of Phillis Wheatley’s life, to show the strength and perseverance of African-American people throughout difficult history and how they have overcome the impossible.
Phillis Wheatley’s, ‘On Being Brought from AFRICA to AMERICA’ is a testament to writing that utilizes irony and satire to produce a salient argument. As Susan Martin, states in her analysis of Wheatley’s poem, “a young woman who sought to assert her views on the passage from freedom to slavery, ignorance to knowledge, darkness to enlightenment” (Martin, 157). In particular, Wheatley’s aim was to construct a piece which addresses the ideals expressed by Martin utilizing irony and satire. Moreover, Wheatley, at the time of writing this poem, was amongst those enslaved. In fact, Wheatley published her first book in 1773. This is a time before America’s independence and most certainly a time where slavery was prominent. This book, which contained numerous poems, proved those enslaved were more intelligent than previously thought. Within Wheatley’s book, her famous poem, ‘On Being Brought from AFRICA to AMERICA’ was read. Read by those who supported slavery and those who opposed it. Typically, Wheatley addresses Christianity and avoids any discussion of race. However, this poem addresses racial issues straight on. On the surface of this poem lies words that when first perceived, appear to support slavery and her deposition from Africa. Moreover, Wheatley utilizes irony and satire to provide a deeper message that speaks out against slavery. More importantly, satire and irony allow two views to form. Through analysis from authors, Levernier, Loving, and Martin, their multiple perspectives can be formed into one. This analysis, will allow a better understanding of Wheatley’s intent with each line and a closer analysis of her clever rhetoric. Furthermore, Wheatley aims to reveal the improper treatment of, “Negros, black as Cain” (Wheatley), while also allowing the poem to be perceived as an appraisal of slavery. Furthermore, Wheatley utilizes each line to provide discussion on different issues regarding slavery in terms of criticizing white Christianity. Furthermore, Wheatley makes her viewpoint of slavery clear; an improper treatment that will not last.
Ms. Wheatley was born in Senegal or Gambia in 1753 and brought to America when she was around 7 years old, on the slave ship “The Phillis”. She was bought by a tailor named John Wheatley to be a servant for his wife Susannah. John assigned her the name Phillis because of the ship that brought her to America and as was customary, Phillis took the last name of John and Susannah. Susannah soon realized that Phillis was a very gifted child and began to encourage Phillis to learn with her own children. Phillis learned to read and write English in a very short amount of time and the Wheatley’s 18-year-old daughter began to tutor her in numerous
……In 1845 an extraordinary piece of work by Frederick Douglass was published “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”; this was the life of a man who through many adversities stood tall with his head in the heavens. Douglass was the more proactive abolitionist as his work was to demolish slavery while detailing his life experience as a slave and expressing is deep emotions and theory on slavery. In the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” he expresses the way religion and its literature, the bible, had an effect not only on slavery but also with white Christianity. His position on slavery was strong and compelling. Douglass used powerful authoritative words from the start of his narrative to grasp our hold and attention and keep us enflamed while realizing God is embedded in the words. ……Phillis Wheatley overcame obstacles most people would quiver against. She showed us slavery and she showed us faith. In the poem, she tells us “Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand” (Wheatley, line 1-2) Right from the beginning , Wheatley shows us religion through her use of subtle but powerful words. She uses the words “Mercy, Pagan
Phillis Wheatley was a young African American girl, brought to America at the age of seven to be a slave. In her time maturing in the Wheatley household, young Phillis grew rapidly intellectually and spiritually. Her faith in God and His divine nature is what inspired Wheatley to write- a prominent subject in her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” Another example of God being the backbone of her literary career is in her letter “To the University of Cambridge in New England.” Though Wheatley was a slave, she is known as one of the most prominent poets in the pre-nineteenth century America. Mr. Edgar Alan Poe,
Phillis Wheatley was sold into slavery when she was only 7 years old and sent to North America. She was purchased by a family in Boston—they then taught her how to read and write (Wikipedia, 2016). When she learned how to read, her writing thrived. The Wheatley’s saw that, and continued to encourage to continue on with learning and writing the poems. The people of Boston did not want to support an African-American poet, so Phillis sent her writings to a publisher in London (Poetry Foundation, 2016).
All three of the poems discussed in this essay relate to the struggles suffered by African Americans in the late 18th century to the early 19th century in many different ways. They had to live under harsh
She was transported to the Boston docks with a shipment of “refugee” slaves. She was enslaved by a Boston commercialist John Wheatley and Susanna Wheatley. When Phillis was transferred, she became terribly frail and ill. After discovering the girl’s precociousness, the Wheatleys did not entirely excuse Wheatley from her domestic duties but taught her to read and write. Wheatley indicated that despite this exposure, rich and unusual for an American slave, her brain just begged for the intellectual challenge of a more challenging curriculum.
This line shows her happiness of being in America, but her happiness is based on that she found divine mercy in Christianity, and God. Phillis Wheatley even refers in the second half of the couplet that her life before she was brought to America as “benighted”. Benighted in the means of being overtaken by sin and darkness. The imagery of darkness symbolized here by the word “benighted” is very intentional. Being well aware that the darkness of her skin is an excuse for white people to judge her moral character. *In the second couplet; “That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.” Phillis dissociate the moral darkness from her physical appearance. She no longer believes in people's “pagan” religion. She now believes in God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Even though, she states that to call her sinful for the life she once lived is pointless. She never sought redemption in Christianity because she never knew she had sinned. The irony of this couple is when it is compared to the first. For instance, In the time slaves were seen as innately