Philis Wheatley's Life During The American Revolution

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During the American Revolution many slaves were denied the opportunity to learn to read and write. One of the Early American authors, Phillis Wheatley, was able to use her literacy to write many poems and well-known pieces of literature even though she was a slave. Purchased by the Wheatley family at a young age, Wheatley was able to become educated and eventually start writing her own poetry. She had many influences and viewpoints that were shown in her writing, such as the influence of her religious faith and her viewpoint on how she opposed slavery. Later in her life, she was able to become a free woman and she eventually married and had children. Phillis Wheatley was a well-known poet, who was able to establish herself as an exceptional …show more content…
However, around the time of the American Revolution, Mrs. Wheatley and other members of the family had died. Wheatley was now alone and was struggling financially; out of necessity she turned towards marriage to avoid being on her own. She married a man named John Peters, who like her was a freed slave. Their family began to struggle during the war and Wheatley continued to write her poetry. During the wartime, the nation had little time for poetry and many publishers refused to publish and Wheatley’s poems. Wheatley had two children who died at a young age to sickness. Shortly before her death, Peters left Wheatley after debt collectors incarcerated him. Wheatley also had a third child, an infant, and she was forced to support him on her own. She was not making enough revenue from her poems and had no form of sustenance for her and her infant child (Tucker). At the age of thirty-one Wheatley and her son died on the same day in poverty on December 5, 1784 (Phillis Wheatley …show more content…
Many of her works included references to God or other Christian symbols. Her first published book, Poems on Various Subjects: Religious and Moral, has the words religious and moral in the title, which shows how much religion influenced her writing. In her poems she promoted morality and duty and often included lessons from scripture and popular sermons (Tucker). Also, many of her elegies were written about figures in the religious community. One of her famous elegies “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield” exalts the reverend for his service to the community and his devotion to the faith. Wheatley breaks the poem into two sections “First comes the portrait, in which the poet pictures the life of the subject; then follows the exhortation, encouraging the reader to seek the heavenly rewards gained by the subject in death,” (Shields). She most likely composed this piece to extol the reverend and continue his memory after in his death and wants to give praise to someone in her church community who accepted

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