Western Governors University
January 15, 2016
Personal Observations of the Work
The work of literature that I chose to do my initial observations on is a poem written by Phillis Wheatley, called “To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing his Works.” This poem was written during the enlightenment period. I particularly chose this poem because I always had an interest in reading about African literature and how over time equal rights for everyone became a success. Upon reading this poem, which was slightly difficult to understand, Wheatley communicates about how powerful imagination ...view middle of the document...
She began writing poetry at a very young age and modeled her work on well-known English poets such as John Milton and Alexander Pope. The enlightenment period or the age of reason as some say brought in many new discoveries in science, laws, wars, and revolutions (MindEdge, Inc., 2016). This was mainly due to how enlightenment thinkers across Europe questioned authority and argued that liberty was a human right. Reason and scientific knowledge not the state or church was believed to bring in human progress (MindEge, Inc., 2016)
I think in some sort of way Wheatley’s poems were connected to all this type of movement during this period of time, especially with the opposing issues of American slavery and American freedom. The relevance of this work for today’s audiences help to appreciate the harsh times some of the slaves experienced through Wheatley’s poems. Although this piece of work does not directly tell us about slavery, one can point out clues of what she was trying to tell us through the usage of spiritual language and metaphors. I do not blame her. I am sure it was hard enough to post something without being criticized for being a black woman during that time.