Phillis Wheatley: On Being Brought from Africa to America

 

 

Introduction:

 

       Phillis Wheatley was born in Gambia, Africa in 1753. At the age of seven she was brought to America to be a slave at the Wheatley household. Luckily for her, the family taught her how to read and write. Under the family’s guidance, Wheatley became the second African America poet, and one of the few who helped create the genre of African American literature. In 1773 the publication of her poems on various subjects brought her fame. Most of her poems were about religion and Morals, but her poem “On Being Brought from America to Africa” is one of the few which referred to her situation. In 1784 Wheatley died in poverty while working on her second book of poetry which is now lost.

 

Themes:

  1. Slavery
  2. Realization of Religion
  3. Change

 

Language:

  1. Simile: Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain.
  2. Metaphor: Their color is a diabolical dye.
  3. Personification: TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land.
  4. Biblical allusion: That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too.

 

 

 

Rhyme:  

AA, BB, CC, DD.

 

Tone:

Phillis Wheatley uses a submissive tone. Instead of attacking slavery, and going against it, she praises it. She views slavery as something that saved her life.