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Phillis wheatley on being brought from africa to america analysis

Phillis wheatley on being brought from africa to america analysis

Phillis wheatley’s “on being brought from africa to america

The poem “On Being Carried from Africa to America” juxtaposes religious vocabulary with the practice of slavery in a few short lines to touch on the principles of freedom, redemption, and liberty. To express her nuanced yet concise message to the reader, Phillis Wheatley employs a variety of literary techniques, and knowing these techniques is essential to comprehending the poem. This interactive lesson plan will help students better understand the ideas in Wheatley’s poetry by looking at the patterns, symbols, and terminology she uses.

On being brought from africa to america by phillis wheatley

The speaker of this poem argues that mercy saved them from their “pagan country” and taught their “benighted spirit”—their soul veiled in darkness—that there is a God and a Saviour. Prior to this, the speaker had never tried or been aware of someone seeking salvation. While some may look down on black people and believe that their color is “diabolic” or bad, the speaker urges those who hold such views to note that black people “may be refin’d” and become angels.
The speaker in this poem laments being “brought from Africa to America,” describing it as a merciful act because their “benighted spirit” was taught to “understand/ That there is a God” and a Saviour. The capitalization of God and Saviour in this poem seems to be a parallel to the capitalization of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses in Wheatley’s other poems. The speaker clarifies that they were taught to “understand” the presence of a God and a Saviour, but that comprehension does not imply approval of these statistics. While the speaker once “neither sought nor understood” salvation, the first four lines do not necessarily imply that the speaker now acknowledges redemption or a God or Saviour.

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Phillis Wheatley’s poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” was published in her 1773 poetry collection “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.” Wheatley’s experience as a young girl enslaved and transported to the American colonies in 1761 is portrayed in the poem. Wheatley uses this poem to argue that all people, regardless of race, are capable of achieving redemption through Christianity. Wheatley is the first African American woman to write a book of poetry. Wheatley’s gentle yet strong challenge to racism in America is based on the shared humanity that is at the core of Christian doctrine.
1’Twas mercy that drew me from my pagan homeland, 2’Twas mercy that taught my benighted soul to comprehend
3That there is a God, and that there is also a Saviour:4Once I neither sought nor understood salvation.
5Some look down on our sable race,6″Their color is a diabolic die,” they claim.
7Keep in mind, Christians, the Negros, black as Cain,8may be refined and enter the angelic train.
1’Twas mercy that drew me from my pagan homeland, 2’Twas mercy that taught my benighted soul to comprehend
3That there is a God, and that there is also a Saviour:4Once I neither sought nor understood salvation.
5Some look down on our sable race,6″Their color is a diabolic die,” they claim.
7Keep in mind, Christians, the Negros, black as Cain,8may be refined and enter the angelic train.

On being brought from africa to america by phillis wheatley

Wheatley was trained in Massachusetts by her masters, offering her a rare opportunity to improve her talents as a person and define herself. This enforced education was undeniably a limitation of her negative liberty, but it paradoxically resulted in her achieving positive liberty and allowing her to imagine herself as a more self-reliant human being. The author of “On Being Taken from Africa to America” was well aware of this inconsistency, which could often hinder the meaning of liberty – and it is precisely at this stage that the poem’s expressive power resides. In light of this, my goal is to recognize Wheatley’s poetic persona as one of the first to publicly assert racial identity, race, and equality, among other things. Finally, the paper ends with several recommendations for potential studies in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of Phillis Wheatley.