On Being Brought from Africa to America
by Phillis Wheatley
Analysis: Calling Card
Wheatley knew her stuff, and her stuff was rooted in the poetic tradition of Latin and Greek. She imitated the Neo-classic style of poetry, which often used heroic couplets. "On Being Brought from Africa to America" is no different. Although Wheatley typically wrote about Christian themes and praised heroic figures like George Whitefield (a famous evangelist), "On Being Brought" addresses issues of race and slavery. But if you find yourself reading a poem of rhymed couplets and it addresses themes of the American Revolution or praises historical figures from the eighteenth century, you've probably got yourself a Phillis Wheatley poem in your hands. Lucky you.