Phillis Wheatley : A Pioneer Of American Poetry

1310 Words Oct 23rd, 2016 6 Pages
Phillis Wheatley: A Pioneer of American Poetry Phillis Wheatley was an American figure unlike any other at her time. In a time where slavery was the normal, Ms. Wheatley was a revolutionary figure. She was not revolutionary because she was one of the enslaved but because she was one of the enslaved that knew how to read and write, becoming a published author. Women at the time of Phillis Wheatley were oppressed into submission to social norms. It was almost unheard of for a woman to write poetry, much less to be published. So, for Phillis Wheatley not only to be a slave, but also to be a woman that wrote poetry, she was an extremely influential figure. She was not influential in just one area, but in two areas because she led the way to women being accepted as writers and planted a seed of abolition, although not directly intentional. 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…

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