In a few short lines, the poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America" juxtaposes religious language with the institution of slavery, to touch on the ideas of equality, salvation, and liberty. Phillis Wheatley uses several literary elements to convey her complex but succinct message to the reader, and understanding those methods is vital to grappling with the poem. This interactive teaching plan will help students further grasp the concepts involved in Wheatley's poetry, examining the themes, symbols, and vocabulary she used.
On Being Brought from Africa to America analysis - Phillis Wheatley Poem
"Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land"
"Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train."
"land” & “understand”“too” & “knew”“eye” & “die"
In the poem, Wheatley personifies ‘Mercy’ by saying it brought her to America. This is also a metaphor since mercy could not actually bring her to America, making the statement figurative or metaphorical.