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Complete 8 page APA formatted essay: Phyllis Wheatley as a slave.Download file to see previous pages... This strategy caused some misunderstanding and generates much criticism among her early reviewer
Complete 8 page APA formatted essay: Phyllis Wheatley as a slave.Download file to see previous pages...
This strategy caused some misunderstanding and generates much criticism among her early reviewers. Phillis Wheatley engaged in a serious battle to fight the injustice black people experienced through slavery. Even though as a slave she did not have freedom, she used her poetry to present and criticize the oppressive system of slavery. Her writing becomes a medium to address this crucial issue that abuses black people and questions their humanness and intelligence. Claiming her African identity, she strives to end slavery and uses the influence of people she knew in her master’s home to bring awareness to the evil of this system that oppresses blacks. This author reflects: “Wheatley was indeed quite aware of the terrible injustices done her and other slaves, that she protested these abuses as best she could, that she took pride in her African identity, and that she cultivated relationships with anyone else--black or white--who might directly or indirectly help to end slavery” (Levernier 38). Wheatley uses any means possible to exhibit the injustice about slavery and claim black people’s right to be free and enjoy their liberty as anybody else. Having received a strong religious education, she severely denounces the contradiction in Christian slaveholders who though believing in Christian values violate these same values by owning slaves and abusing them. This statement reveals: “Even more revealing of Wheatley's abhorrence of slavery is the letter she wrote to Occom concerning the ‘natural Rights’ of slaves and the glaring hypocrisy of supposedly Christian slaveholders who profess Christian beliefs, which they blatantly contradict by keeping slaves” (Levernier 40). Wheatley believes all people are God’s creatures and they are all equal regardless of their race. She denigrates that attitude deemed hypocritical that profiles against blacks just because of their race. Even though Wheatley’s poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America" seems to indicate that she agrees with the policies of slavery, she actually conveys a totally different message. Most critics take the words literally and miss the main point she makes by focusing only on the benefit of Christianity and neglecting the criticism of slavery she engages in. The speaker states: “Some view our sable race with scornful eye, / ‘Their colour is a diabolic die” (On Being lines 5-6). Through these lines, Wheatley expresses the oppression and abuse black people suffer from, and she foregrounds the distinction made between the races. Wheatley, actually, puts forward the Christian values to contrast the evil of slavery to the good believers should embrace and embody. This article points out: “On the surface, ‘On Being Brought from Africa to America’ seems to imply, as most commentators have maintained, that its author wholeheartedly endorsed the racist colonial opinion that bringing Africans to America for use as slaves was morally justifiable because it brought Christianity to souls that might otherwise have perished in hell” (Levernier 41). These negative images of Africa have been mainly conveyed by slaveholders and companies conducting the slave trade to justify the necessity of enslaving black people.