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Motivation of Phillis Wheatley to Write Poems



Motivation of Phillis Wheatley to Write Poems

  1. P.J Abdul Kalam, the eleventh president of India once said, “Poetry comes from the highest happiness or from the deepest sorrow.” The existence of poetry as an art is majorly as a result of the structure of human beings as feeling creatures rather than thinking ones. On one hand, the quality of emotion in poets motivates them to put their lives into words while on the other hand; readers find their lives in this works. In June Jordan’s “The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America or Something Like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley” it is evident that the poems written by Phillis Wheatley exhibit restrained emotions. Indeed, Wheatley restrains her own enslavement situation and addresses the white establishment rather than fellow slaves.

“The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America or Something Like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley” is an inspired essay by June Jordan in which the author affectingly describes the life of Phillis Wheatley beginning from the time she is auctioned as a slave. Jordan repeats phrases rhythmically as if chanting and ends up creating a lively account of the difficult life of Wheatley: “It was not natural. And she was the first” (Jordan 252). She refers to the publication of her work as “Phillis Miracle” (Jordan 254) because despite being a slave, Phillis Wheatley became the first black person and the second woman in America to publish her work. Indeed Jordan documents the existence of strong emotions or great enthusiasm in Wheatley that she refers to as “intrinsic ardor” when the author considers what could have motivated the “young African to undertake such a persona, such a values, and mythologies a million million miles remote from her own ancestry, and her own darkly formulating race” (Jordan 257).Motivation of Phillis Wheatley to Write Poems

Wheatley gave specific attention to slavery and religion, two important issues that defined social life during the 18th century. In the poem titled “On being brought from Africa to America” Whitley uses exactly eight lines to portray her attitude towards her slavery. She expresses appreciation for her enslavement and compares her skin color to her initial ignorance of redemption by saying “TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land/ taught my benighted soul to understand/ that there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too” (Jordan 255). She seems to distance her audience from individuals that “view our sable race with scornful eye.” This way, she shoves the reader to view slavery as dangerous and goes ahead to depict slaves in a positive way by describing their color as both valuable and desirable

Phillis Wheatley work covers a number of themes and wittingly chooses her words. She protests against slavery but totally avoids mentioning her own condition of bondage. Indeed Wheatley seems to have adopted a mask that helps her to criticize, in print, some of the social ills, driven by the desire to change any inappropriate behavior in the society. From Jordan’s work, it is also evident that Wheatley has written occasional poems about special occasions or death of some important people.Motivation of Phillis Wheatley to Write Poems



Work Cited

Jordan, June. “The difficult miracle of black poetry in America or something like a sonnet for Phillis Wheatley.” The Massachusetts Review 27.2 (1986): 252-262.