Phillis Wheatley

Topics: Slavery, American Civil War, Slavery in the United States Pages: 2 (634 words) Published: August 8, 2013
In my response paper I would like to discuss the four poems written by Phillis Wheatley. Although she was brought to America as a slave she got well educated by her owner and so was able to read passages from the bible after a short time. This contact to Christianity is visible in every piece of writing she did. Wheatley wanted to praise different things and talk about her ideas. I think because she was a slave writing was the only opportunity to discuss her thoughts about Christianity, salvation or history.

Her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (1773) Wheatley describes her own history. The speaker was brought from the “pagan land” (line 1) to America by mercy and because of this mercy the speaker was able to convert to Christianity. Before he came to America he knew nothing about a God or even Saviour and was also not searching for redemption. In his home country the speaker was “benighted” (line 2) so to him his soul was morally in the dark. He changed from darkness to light because of mercy that told him that God exists and saves. In her poem Wheatley addresses other African slaves and maybe tries to convince them to become Christians. She didn’t push them towards her believes but told them her own story and how she experienced the changing. But she didn’t only speak to slaves she also addresses the American by showing how they treat or think about the slaves they own. They saw slaves as less than human because of their skin colour. Wheatley believed that Negroes are equal to Christians in God’s eyes if they believe in him. “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. Georg Whitefield” (1770) is about the life of a God’s servant. Me strike the fact that the subject of the poem, Whitefield, was known for advocacy slavery and was himself a slave owner. So why did Wheatley as a slave write about him? She showed him climbing the skies where he is received by the “worlds unknown” (line 13) and also compared the reverend to mystical experiences from the Bible...
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