Wheatley Wheatley Analysis

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By labeling herself as an “Ethiop” (Wheatley 28), she reduces herself to a woman from Africa, similarly to how she views herself in the first stanza. Nonetheless, she assumes a position of authority through the use of the imperative form in the third stanza. She encourages the students to “Improve your privileges” (Wheatley 21), “Let sin… By you be shunn’d” (Wheatley 24-25), and to “Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg” (Wheatley 26). Wheatley is perhaps hinting at the irony of how, despite Christ viewing all humans as equal, the Harvard College undergraduate students are assuming a position of undeserving authority. Wheatley, particularly in lines seven through twenty-seven, attempts to place herself in a position where she can meet the …show more content…

In poems such as “On being brought from Africa to America”, “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty”, and “On the Death of the Rev. Dr. Sewell”, Wheatley follows a rhyme scheme, such as AABBCCDD. Wheatley’s flexibility in form allows for her to reiterate her message that the students are responsible for reconciling their formal undergraduate education with following Jesus’ footsteps in recognizing the significance of moral advancement in a less structured, more conversational tone. Wheatley attempts to elevate herself to meet the wealthy, white undergraduate males in order to advance the notion that the students should study for a greater societal purpose and not simply to acquire more knowledge. Although Wheatley does follow a structure, as the poem is written in iambic pentameter, her deviation from her typical employment of a rhyme scheme highlights her change in tone. Forgoing a rhyme scheme allows for Wheatley to address the Harvard College undergraduate students in a less formal, more conversational tone. However, toward the end of the third stanza, Wheatley starts to employ a rhyme scheme. Lines twenty-seven through thirty follow an ABAB rhyme scheme, where “divine” (Wheatley 27) and “pain” (Wheatley 29) are paired together and “foe” (Wheatley 28) and “soul” (Wheatley 30) are matched. This more organized structure contrasts with Wheatley’s declaration of herself as an “Ethiop” (Wheatley 28). …show more content…

Despite being bombarded with cruel words by disparagers, Jesus still sacrificed his own life. It is thus imperative that the students shy away from the allurement of sin in order to honor Jesus for dying for the sins, past and future, of humankind. The undergraduate students should not only pay heightened attention to their academics, particularly the sciences, but also to the lessons surrounding moral enhancement and striving to better humankind. It is relatively easy for the undergraduate students to succumb to the temptation to sin and to use their societal position as wealthy, white, Harvard College- educated males to reinforce preexisting gendered and racial hierarchies. Through the employment of certain poetic techniques, Wheatley assumes the authority of the undergraduate students to encourage them to, like Jesus, question preexisting social norms, despite disapproval from

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