Source: Mary McAleer Balkun, "Phillis Wheatley's Construction of Otherness and the Rhetoric of Performed Ideology," in African American Review, Vol. Shockley, Ann Allen, Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide, G. K. Hall, 1988. 2, December 1975, pp. They constituted less than 5% of the twelve million enslaved people brought from Africa to the Americas. Carretta, Vincent, and Philip Gould, Introduction, in Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic, edited by Vincent Carretta and Philip Gould, University Press of Kentucky, 2001, pp. When the un-Christian speak of "‘their color,"’ they might just as easily be pointing to the white members of the audience who have accepted the invitation into Wheatley's circle. 27, 1992, pp. Vincent Carretta and Philip Gould explain such a model in their introduction to Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic. At this point, the poem displaces its biblical legitimation by drawing attention to its own achievement, as inherent testimony to its argument. Benjamin Rush, a prominent abolitionist, holds that Wheatley's "singular genius and accomplishments are such as not only do honor to her sex, but to human nature." To the extent that the audience responds affirmatively to the statements and situations Wheatley has set forth in the poem, that is the extent to which they are authorized to use the classification "Christian." Wheatley continues her stratagem by reminding the audience of more universal truths than those uttered by the "some." ———, ed., Critical Essays on Phillis Wheatley, G. K. Hall, 1982, pp. Only eighteen of the African Americans were free. Particularly apt is the clever syntax of the last two lines of the poem: "Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain / May be refin'd.". Shuffelton also surmises why Native American cultural production was prized while black cultural objects were not. These documents are often anthologized along with the Declaration of Independence as proof, as Wheatley herself said to the Native American preacher Samson Occom, that freedom is an innate right. ." An Sgeir, The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism." Wheatley's identity was therefore somehow bound up with the country's in a visible way, and that is why from that day to this, her case has stood out, placing not only her views on trial but the emerging country's as well, as Gates points out. INTRODUCTION The word Some also introduces a more critical tone on the part of the speaker, as does the word Remember, which becomes an admonition to those who call themselves "Christians" but do not act as such. There was no precedent for it. William Robinson, in Phillis Wheatley and Her Writings, brings up the story that Wheatley remembered of her African mother pouring out water in a sunrise ritual. Phillis Wheatley, the first black woman poet of note in the United States. Her strategy relies on images, references, and a narrative position that would have been strikingly familiar to her audience. Which Of The Following Identification Procedures Is Generally The Most Likely To Be Suggestive?, In fact, Wheatley's poems and their religious nature were used by abolitionists as proof that Africans were spiritual human beings and should not be treated as cattle. Both races inherit the barbaric blackness of sin. Which Of The Following Identification Procedures Is Generally The Most Likely To Be Suggestive? These ideas of freedom and the natural rights of human beings were so potent that they were seized by all minorities and ethnic groups in the ensuing years and applied to their own cases. "In every human breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Lov…, Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Indeed, at the time, blacks were thought to be spiritually evil and thus incapable of salvation because of their skin color. Wheatly´s poem “On being brought from Africa to America” consists of two central messages. She was planning a second volume of poems, dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, when the Revolutionary War broke out. In this regard, one might pertinently note that Wheatley's voice in this poem anticipates the ministerial role unwittingly assumed by an African-American woman in the twenty-third chapter of Harriet Beecher Stowe's The Minister's Wooing (1859), in which Candace's hortatory words intrinsically reveal what male ministers have failed to teach about life and love. Secondly, it describes the deepest Christian indictment of her race: blacks are too sinful to be saved or to be bothered with. The eighteen judges signed a document, which Phillis took to London with her, accompanied by the Wheatley son, Nathaniel, as proof of who she was. Her rhetoric has the effect of merging the female with the male, the white with the black, the Christian with the Pagan. On Being Brought from Africa to America. I believe). Wheatley's shift from first to third person in the first and second stanzas is part of this approach. Her praise of these people and what they stood for was printed in the newspapers, making her voice part of the public forum in America. West Africa The poet quickly and ably turns into a moral teacher, explaining as to her backward American friends the meaning of their own religion. Is Ms2 Dangerous, Does she feel a conflict about these two aspects of herself, or has she found an integrated identity? Patricia Liggins Hill, et. 19, No. "On Being Brought from Africa to America" is a poem written by Phillis Wheatley, published in her 1773 poetry collection "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." She demonstrates in the course of her art that she is no barbarian from a "Pagan land" who raises Cain (in the double sense of transgressing God and humanity). Source: Susan Andersen, Critical Essay on "On Being Brought from Africa to America," in Poetry for Students, Gale, Cengage Learning, 2009. In 1773 her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (which includes "On Being Brought from Africa. In a few short lines, the poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America" juxtaposes religious language with the institution of slavery, to touch on the ideas of equality, salvation, and liberty. Speaking for God, the prophet at one point says, "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10). Betsy Erkkila describes this strategy as "a form of mimesis that mimics and mocks in the act of repeating" ("Revolutionary" 206). No wonder, then, that thinkers as great as Jefferson professed to be puzzled by Wheatley's poetry. Therein, she implores him to right America's wrongs and be a just administrator. If Wheatley's image of "angelic train" participates in the heritage of such poetic discourse, then it also suggests her integration of aesthetic authority and biblical authority at this final moment of her poem. In this, she asserts her religion as her priority in life; but, as many commentators have pointed out, it does not necessarily follow that she condones slavery, for there is evidence that she did not, in such poems as the one to Dartmouth and in the letter to Samson Occom. Even before the Revolution, black slaves in Massachusetts were making legal petitions for their freedom on the basis of their natural rights. Neoclassical was a term applied to eighteenth-century literature of the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, in Europe. The Lord's attendant train is the retinue of the chosen referred to in the preceding allusion to Isaiah in Wheatley's poem. This strategy is also evident in her use of the word benighted to describe the state of her soul (2). The justification was given that the participants in a republican government must possess the faculty of reason, and it was widely believed that Africans were not fully human or in possession of adequate reason. Which TWO of the following best identify the themes of the text? Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. Wheatley does not reflect on this complicity except to see Africa as a land, however beautiful and Eden-like, devoid of the truth. A sensation in her own day, Wheatley was all but forgotten until scrutinized under the lens of African American studies in the twentieth century. Erkkila's insight into Wheatley's dualistic voice, which allowed her to blend various points of view, is validated both by a reading of her complete works and by the contemporary model of early transatlantic black literature, which enlarges the boundaries of reference for her achievement. Over a third of her poems in the 1773 volume were elegies, or consolations for the death of a loved one. The black race itself was thought to stem from the murderer and outcast Cain, of the Bible. She did light housework because of her frailty and often visited and conversed in the social circles of Boston, the pride of her masters. Slave, poet "On Being Brought from Africa to America" (1773) has been read as Phillis Wheatley's repudiation of her African heritage of paganism, but not necessarily of her African identity as a member of the black race (e.g., Isani 65). The first two children died in infancy, and the third died along with Wheatley herself in December 1784 in poverty in a Boston boardinghouse. But, in addition, the word sets up the ideological enlightenment that Wheatley hopes will occur in the second stanza, when the speaker turns the tables on the audience. Some were deists, like Benjamin Franklin, who believed in God but not a divine savior. Phillis Wheatley Peters, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American author of a published book of poetry. On Being Brought from Africa to America Line 7 is one of the difficult lines in the poem. These lines can be read to say that Christians—Wheatley uses the term Christians to refer to the white race—should remember that the black race is also a recipient of spiritual refinement; but these same lines can also be read to suggest that Christians should remember that in a spiritual sense both white and black people are the sin-darkened descendants of Cain. Phillis Wheatley read quite a lot of classical literature, mostly in translation (such as Pope's translations of Homer), but she also read some Latin herself. On the other hand, Gilbert Imlay, a writer and diplomat, disagreed with Jefferson, holding Wheatley's genius to be superior to Jefferson's. The collection was such an astonishing testimony to the intelligence of her race that John Wheatley had to assemble a group of eighteen prominent citizens of Boston to attest to the poet's competency. I3 10th Gen, The opening thought is thus easily accepted by a white or possibly hostile audience: that she is glad she came to America to find true religion. This failed due to doubt that a slave could write poetry. The speaker's declared salvation and the righteous anger that seems barely contained in her "reprimand" in the penultimate line are reminiscent of the rhetoric of revivalist preachers. Play this game to review Poetry. POEM SUMMARY In her poems on atheism and deism she addresses anyone who does not accept Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as a lost soul. Once again, Wheatley co-opts the rhetoric of the other. assessments in his edited volume Critical Essays on Phillis Wheatley. One critical problem has been an incomplete collection of Wheatley's work. Poet and World Traveler Reading Wheatley not just as an African American author but as a transatlantic black author, like Ignatius Sancho and Olaudah Equiano, the critics demonstrate that early African writers who wrote in English represent "a diasporic model of racial identity" moving between the cultures of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. 2 Wheatley, “On the Death of General Wooster,” in Call and Response, p. 103.. 3 Horton, “The Slave’s Complaint,” in Call and Response, pp. … In this poem Wheatley finds various ways to defeat assertions alleging distinctions between the black and the white races (O'Neale). Endnotes. https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/being-brought-africa-america, "On Being Brought from Africa to America Such couplets were usually closed and full sentences, with parallel structure for both halves. She returned to America riding on that success and was set free by the Wheatleys—a mixed blessing, since it meant she had to support herself. Jefferson, a Founding Father and thinker of the new Republic, felt that blacks were too inferior to be citizens. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p.98. The last two lines refer to the equality inherent in Christian doctrine in regard to salvation, for Christ accepted everyone. In effect, both poems serve as litmus tests for true Christianity while purporting to affirm her redemption. Wheatley was a member of the Old South Congregational Church of Boston. This is why she can never love tyranny. 1-13. This question was discussed by the Founding Fathers and the first American citizens as well as by people in Europe. That Wheatley sometimes applied biblical language and allusions to undercut colonial assumptions about race has been documented (O'Neale), and that she had a special fondness for the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah is intimated by her verse paraphrase entitled "Isaiah LXIII. From the 1770s, when Phillis Wheatley first began to publish her poems, until the present day, criticism has been heated over whether she was a genius or an imitator, a cultural heroine or a pathetic victim, a woman of letters or an item of curiosity. Today: African American women are regularly winners of the highest literary prizes; for instance, Toni Morrison won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature, and Suzan-Lori Parks won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Robinson, William H., Phillis Wheatley and Her Writings, Garland, 1984, pp. Ahcccs Eligibility, Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. 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