On Being Brought from Africa to America TP-CASTT Analysis

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On Being Brought from Africa to America TPCASTT


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Activity Overview

Poetry is one of the most expressive forms of literature. It can evoke emotions, set a mood, tell a story, or create a deeply and universally understood feeling in its readers. This makes expounding its elements, and understanding its rich meaning, comparisons, and symbols, even more important.

The TP-CASTT method of poetry analysis is a great way to teach students to dissect a poem and understand its parts. It helps students to uncover the deeper meanings within poems while giving them the confidence to be self-educators. TP-CASTT Poetry Analysis is an order of operations similar to PEMDAS for math. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem.

TP-CASTT Analysis
( TPCASTT Lesson PlanBuy PosterBuy PDF )

TPCASTT Example for "On Being Brought from Africa to America" Analysis



“On Being Brought from Africa to America” implies that the speaker will discuss a journey from Africa, presumably their home, to America, possibly as a slave.


The first half of the poem explains that the speaker’s trip from Africa to America coincided with her becoming a Christian. In the last four lines she cautions others Christians to remember that even Africans can, like the speaker, find salvation in Christ.


Wheatley implies a strong and complex relationship between her religion and her slavery. She reminds Americans that black people are not evil and that before God, all Christians are equal, no matter their race.


Words like “mercy”, “Pagan”, “Savior”, “redemption”, “diabolical”, and “angelic” reinforce the religious nature of the poem and create a contrast in the speaker’s life before and after her enslavement. Her tone is straightforward, compassionate, and deeply personal, but also gently admonishing.


A shift occurs at the middle of the poem. The speaker switches from describing her own life to pointing out the implications of her story. Within the second half of the poem there is a shift between the two couplets; the speaker ends by directly addressing Christian readers.


After reading the poem, my interpretation of the title was partially correct. The narrator, who was once a slave, was brought to America, where she became a Christian. Her journey from Africa to America was one of enslavement, but coincided with her salvation.


The theme of Christianity echoes through each line of this poem. Salvation overshadows enslavement in the transformative journey, and she urges readers to remember that all Christians are equal before God.

This is a great activity to have students do in a small group. Once students are finished, ask them to create a storyboard with the TPCASTT steps.

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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Perform a TPCASTT analysis of "On Being Brought from Africa to America". Remember that TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TPCASTT.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.

TPCASTT Template


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