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Blog Post 9/21

After reading about the backgrounds and poetry of both Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatly, I have reflected on the power of poetry. These two women both lived difficult lives, but somehow found solace in words. I was especially moved by Phillis Wheatly’s story because she seemed to overcome so much. Although I was confused on how she was educated and traveled to Europe for her poetry, but somehow was still enslaved and kept at arms distance from the family.

Additionally, I can understand the frustration from 20th century critics of Black American literature because it seems that to a certain extent, she does not criticize slavery. In her poem On Being Brought from Africa to America she talks about educating people with Christian values and how she is grateful for that, but she did not criticize the fact that she was taken. I do not understand this, but she may have just been educated to believe this is ok. Another argument on why she didn’t speak out is that it was not safe to do so, or it would not have been well received by her audiences. I also agree somewhat with the article argued, that she used biblical allusions and her faith as a way to argue for abolition just more covertly.

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5 Comments

  1. Mia Slaunwhite Mia Slaunwhite

    The power of literature is crazy in its own ways. The idea that it can take someone to another location physically or mentally. It is hard to understand and even agree with parts of literature because we just don’t know what it was like.

  2. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I agree, Phillis Wheatly’s story is pretty inspiring and I am upset I haven’t heard of her name before this assignment. I am also confused how she made the journey to Europe while still being kept away from her family/treated as lesser if this trip was fueled by her writing. Was she ever able to keep the money she made from her poetry? I feel that she did use religion as a cover for abolition as religion speaks to a wider audience, and so that only those with a good ability to analyze text could understand the meaning.

  3. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    I really liked your point about how they both found solace in words. I think it is amazing how powerful writing down feelings or anything can be. For me, it seems like a way of getting things off their mind without having to speak to other people.

  4. Elina Bhagwat Elina Bhagwat

    I like how you bring up the point about biblical allusions to help support her abolitionist agenda. This reminds me of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and how Harriet Beecher Stowe used God as an agent to advocate for abolishing slavery. However, in the same way that people used religion to oppose slavery, it was also used to justify slavery by slaveholders.

  5. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    I like your comparison of Bradstreet and Wheatly, especially how the both “found solace in words.” It’s truly amazing how impactful words can be. I also found Wheatly not criticizing being taken to be odd. I agree with the idea that she was, sadly, under the impression that it was ok or that she refrained from such statements for her own safety.

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