Phillis Wheatley's On Being Brought From Africa To America

1475 Words6 Pages
Phillis Wheatley was an American poet, considered as the first important black writer in the United States. Brought from Africa in 1761, she began writing on her experiences and views on being a slave, focusing on religious and political themes. Bringing her personal beliefs and activism into many pieces of her work, both served as important themes throughout her literature. “On Being Brought from Africa to America” described the positivity of being an American slave while it brought her to Christianity. The poems of Phillis Wheatley display a classical quality and restrained emotion while dealing with pietistic Christian sentiments. In many ways Wheatley used classical mythology and ancient history as allusions, including many references to the muses as inspiring her poetry. Many of her work described her attitude towards her condition of enslavement both coming from Africa to America, and the culture that considered her color so negatively.
“On Being Brought from Africa to America” analyzed Wheatley’s subtle critique of slavery in her poetry and everyday life. Her change in her belief system and perception of coming to America changed once finding Christianity. Readers were amazed by her unexpected gratitude in the face of
…show more content…
Her subversive style of writing imposed ironic criticism against a racist society. Her poems displayed political, classical tradition, and irony. In Wheatley’s “On Being Brought From Africa to America”, the term “Benighted”(1) was used as being in a state of darkness or night not only to indicate the color of her skin but also to reflect the current slave status of her life. She indicated the fact that she was kidnapped, also emphasizing that she was also in the hands of mercy. Human rights and freedom were incorporated into sermons and Wheatley's poetry. The significance in Wheatley’s writings would be profound for all African Americans' sense of
Open Document