Phillis Wheatley & Mary Rowlandson

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Born in Africa, Phillis Wheatley, is thought to be the first significant black poet in America. She was sold into a white family around the age of seven or eight. Since she was treated what would be considered beneficent of the standards at this time, English became her second language in just sixteen months. She soon began to study Latin, the Bible, and English poetry by John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Thomas Gray (The Norton Anthology Literature by Women, 358). She wrote her first religious first when she was only thirteen, and published one of her first poems at the age of seventeen (Norton Anthology Literature by Women, 358).

During a raid, Mary Rowlandson, her six year old daughter, and her two older children were captured by New England Indians at the dawn of February 10, 1676 (Norton Anthology Literature by Women, 174). Rowlandson and her six year old daughter were both wounded, and separated from the older children. Although a mass of people were killed during this attack, Rowlandson's husband survived due to the fact of his absence in town that day. Living in the Wampanoag women's household, Rowlandson read her Bible, knitted, and sewed to past the time and to get her mind off of eating. She spent three months with them before being ransomed due to her husband's offer for her.

Even though both women were subjected to a taste of slavery, mainly good things came of it. Mary Rowlandson's life as a captive of the Indians made a deep impact on her, and she wrote a book dedicated to such an experience. Even though Phillis was bought from a slave ship by the Wheatleys of Boston, great things were entailed from then on.
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