'On Being Brought from Africa to America,' by Phillis Wheatley, is a short, eight-line poem with an AABBCCDD rhyme scheme. This simplistic structure makes sense given Wheatley's plain message. In terms of meter, Wheatley employs the most common pattern, iambic pentameter. It is composed of five pairs of metrically identical lines called "iambs".
'Wheatley was born in 1753 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father was from England and her mother was from Virginia. She had two brothers who were also educated by their parents until they reached the age of 16 when they were able to support themselves. Wheatley's first publication came at the age of 21 when a Boston newspaper printed some of her poems. The next year, she traveled to London where she met many important people including Benjamin Franklin. Upon returning home, she became one of the first women poets published in the American colonies. She died in 1792 at the age of 36 after suffering for several years from tuberculosis.
'Wheatley wrote mostly about nature and the American Revolution. But some critics have suggested that she was also commenting on various issues affecting African Americans at the time. They believe the dark themeing of some of her poems is evidence of this.
'Being brought from Africa to America' is one of Wheatley's simpler poems but it conveys an important message about freedom.
Wheatley employs a number of literary tropes in "On Being Brought from Africa to America." Personification, allusion, and alliteration are examples of these. The first is personification, which can be observed in the first lines, as the poet states it was "mercy" that brought her to America. This refers to God's role in human affairs and his dealings with individuals.
Allusion is when one story or idea is referred to by someone else entirely different from it. In Wheatley's poem, this can be seen in the reference to American slavery, which is juxtaposed with African slavery. Allusion allows the author to bring attention to important issues while still writing a poem that flows naturally.
Alliteration is when two similar sounds occur together. In "On Being Brought from Africa to America," alliteration can be found in the words "black" and "white." These words are repeated throughout the poem in order to emphasize certain ideas. Black and white were the only colors available in America at the time, so by using these words the poet is saying that she was taken away from her family and friends and brought to a new place where there were no other blacks except for herself.
Another example of an aesthetic device used by Wheatley is metaphor. Metaphor is the use of one thing to stand for another thing with which it has something in common.
Although it is rare for Wheatley to write about being a slave brought from Africa to America, this poem skillfully tackles topics of liberty, religion, and racial equality. The first two lines describe how the poet was "Brought from Africa to America," which implies that he or she was stolen away from their home country. The third line also suggests that the poet was torn away from his family back in Africa.
In the fourth line, Wheatley alludes to the fact that he was sold into slavery. Slavery was very common in the 17th century as an alternative form of punishment for crimes. Additionally, slaves were often taken far away from their homes in Africa.
The last two lines also imply that the poet was given a chance to learn new skills from American colonists. Since learning new skills was difficult because there were no schools available to African Americans at this time, the poet used his time by writing poems such as this one.
Wheatley wrote about being brought from Africa to America not only to describe his experience but also to encourage understanding between blacks and whites. This poem expresses her desire for freedom and equality despite being a slave herself.
Themes essential to "On Being Brought from Africa to America": The key themes of this poetry are mercy, racism, and divinity. Throughout the poem, the speaker speaks of God's charity and the people's indifference for the African American population. He also calls attention to racial divisions between blacks and whites in America.
Mercy is one theme that comes up time and again in "On Being Brought from Africa to America." The word appears eleven times in the poem. It is important because it shows how God has always been there to protect and help his people. Even though slavery was legal, many white people still found a way to be merciful to enslaved Africans.
Another theme is racism. This is evident through both what the people say and how they treat African Americans. Although slavery was illegal, some people still used it as an excuse not to hire black people. Others went as far as to kill them when they were no longer useful.
Divinity is the last theme in "On Being Brought from Africa to America". At first, the speaker does not believe in God but after seeing how merciful he is, he changes his mind. In the end, he realizes that God exists and that he is black.
These are just some of the many themes in "On Being Brought from Africa to America".
The following is an excerpt from "On Being Brought from Africa to America": Once I was dragged from my Pagan homeland and taught my benighted soul that there is a God and a Saviour; once I sought salvation I neither sought nor knew. Some look down on our sable race, saying, "Their color is a diabolic death." Others recognize our value and honor us with gifts of gold and silver. Still others use us as a weapon against each other: the black man is good for farming, but too heavy to be a proper burden for the white man to travel with. The American Indians took pity on me and taught me their ways so I could fight in their wars as they asked me to do. The English enslaved me and used me as a labor force until I escaped into British-ruled Canada where I have been living ever since.
Wheatley's statement seems to suggest that he came to America because it was the only place in the world where he could find salvation. This implies that before coming to America, Wheatley had no idea that there were any other places in the world where people could find salvation. It also shows that when he talked about being "brought from Africa to America," he meant that he was taken away from his home country of Africa and brought to the new world where he would be forced to adapt to life under different circumstances.
According to history books, Europeans began arriving in large numbers in North America in the 16th century.
On the contrary, little has been written or given credence to how Africans perceived Europeans upon their arrival or the first European contact with Africans; African perception of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and the fate of captives transported to plantations in the New World on European ships via the Atlantic Ocean.
It is known that when Europeans arrived in Africa they were often met by welcoming parties who took them to the kings or chiefs for protection and exchange of gifts. But beyond this it's hard to know what effect the visitors had on themselves as well as those they met because they rarely wrote about their experiences.
When Europeans did write about their encounters with Africans they usually commented on how intelligent and powerful they seemed to be. For example, a Spanish priest named Father Valera wrote about his visit to King Kongo in 1555. He reported that the king received him with honor and showed him around his city. Then he was taken to a big house where there were many men sitting at tables playing cards. When they saw the priest they stopped what they were doing and came to see him too. Later Valera learned that these were not ordinary people but rather "the greatest geniuses in Kongo" who had been chosen by the king to be his counselors.
Other writers who visited Africa also left accounts of what they saw. An Italian merchant named Belon wrote about his trip up the Congo River in 1557.