Phillis Wheatley's Poetry

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Phillis Wheatley was African, a slave, and a woman. Even though her extremely low social condition, she became one of the first African American poet, and the first one to be published. She was presumably born in Senegal in 1753 and Phillis was brought in North America at the age of 7, where she was bought by the Wheatley family in Boston. When Mrs. Wheatley realized that the intelligence of her slave was above the average, she started to teach her how to read and write. Phillis Wheatley will publish her first collection of poems in London in 1773 and will eventually die in poverty in 1784.
Analysis of Selected Poetry of Phillis Wheatley from Angelene Jamison is seeking to explore why Wheatley “did not address herself any significant degree
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She is accusing her of making hers the language of her oppressor by drawing her inspiration from neo-classicism, and being welcomed by the fact that slavery revealed to her Christianity. She will say: “There are very few poem in which Phillis Wheatley points out her experience as a Black and a slave. Her poetry embraces white attitudes and values, (...). She was detached from her people and her poetry could never be used as an expression of black thought.” However, Phillis Wheatley, being one of the first black poet, should not be seen as such. “Her poetry is a record of a Negro’s survival in our white culture” says Lynn Matson. It is also important to remember to her detractors that Phillis Wheatley, even though raised in far better conditions than her fellows, still was a black slave in a time where she could have known great prejudices or death if she spoke up. It is unfair from the author to say that “It will be impossible to make her Black.” Because even though Wheatley had the chance to know education over harsh treatment, she had been, like her brothers and sisters, brought in extremely terrible conditions to America. By saying this, the author is denigrating Wheatley’s suffering, that probably

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