The Theme Of Slavery In The African By Mary Robinson

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As an influential female writer during the Romantic period, Mary Robinson had decided to shed light upon the controversial issue of slavery through her persuasive narrative poetry and wanted to express a humane viewpoint upon the ancient cruel practice. Robinson was considered to be one of the best-known writers of the 18th century and devoted much of her work to the anti-slavery movement. In one of her most powerful poems “The African” she had used prevailing as well as aggressive language to undermine and critique the practice of slavery. Mary Robinson herself was deeply angered by the brutal attitudes that the white population enforced upon the African people of Britain and was appalled by the idea that the white race is superior toward …show more content…
In “The African”, Mary Robinson tries to impose the blame of such horrid practice upon the English Caucasian society through her use of graphically descriptive literature that portrays the physical pain that was inflicted upon the African minority. The use of vivid language in such an aggressive accusatory manner served as a way to shock the reader in order to bring a sense of awe, horror and remorse within the community. The explicit detailing of the poem was expressed in such a harsh manner that it brought a deep sense of unease throughout the reading. We see this in multiple sections of the poem like, “expose his naked limbs to burning gales” (lines 13), “Faint in the sun, and wither in the storm” (lines 14) as well as “Shall HE endure the frequent lash, the agonizing scourge, the day of labour, and the night of pain” (lines 11-12). Such images were implanted within the poem as a way to impose a sense of revulsion and to demonstrate the true brutality associated with slavery. Such language is trying to instill a sense of guilt and shame upon the white population of England for being blind, ignorant and oppressive associates of such …show more content…
She tries to use the poem as a way to weaken the ideas of ethnocentrism within the conservative society of England and to show the people that all men are equal. The poem attempts to portray such ideology by capitalizing every letter in the word “AFRICAN” in order to humanize the slave and give the black man a sense of identity. Yet she only capitalizes the first letter of the word “Slave” in order to give the reader a feeling of who is truly important and must be given support. However we also see the frequent capitalization of words throughout the poem like in (line 24) it reads “OH LIBERTY!” The word is used almost as a plea to freedom from slavery, freedom from ignorance and freedom from injustice. Robinson tires to emphasize this in her writing as she trying to beg the English people to open there eyes and see the true gruesomeness of the slave trade. She also uses this capitalization strategy as an accusation tactic towards those responsible by emphasizing the words “TYRANT” (line 22) and to give a sense of significance to the African people as well as highlighting the true issue that must be tackled by capitalizing every letter in the word

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