Phillis Wheatley Essay

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Phillis Wheatley Essay

“The challenge isn’t to read white or read black; it is to read. If Phillis Wheatley stood for anything, it was the creed that culture was, could be, the equal possession of all humanity.” In this quote Henry Gates explains that people criticizing the work of Wheatley are missing the whole point of her work. The bias critics only see a black slave who should not be writing the way she is writing. Her critics overlook the beauty and the amount that her poems inspire people of all color. Throughout Phillis Wheatley’s works she expresses herself and in doing so she writes her way to freedom and becomes the first African American to publish a book of poems in English. Henry Gates is on point when saying that Phillis Wheatley believed in the equality of all people. Wheatley shows her desire for equality by her word choices, faith, and personality. The diction Wheatley uses in her works explains her belief on equal opportunity. Wheatley is more intelligent than some of the “educated whites” of her time. Imagery is used often in her works to persuade her readers. Wheatley uses auditory and visual imagery for example in “Hymn to the Evening” when she writes, “soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes, and through the air their mingled music floats.” She also has a way of comparing things indirectly. “Thy various works, imperial queen, we see how bright their forms! How deck’d with pomp by thee!” In this quote from “On Imagination” Wheatley talks about an elaborate queen, and implies that the queen is imagination. By using her advanced knowledge Phillis Wheatley proves that she is just as intelligent as whites. Phillis Wheatley believes that God wanted equality between black and whites. Christians were hypocritical, so Wheatley tells them “Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, may be refin’d, and join th’ Anglican train.” In “On being brought from Africa to America” she is rhetorically asking the white Christians

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