Phillis Wheatley’s On Being Brought from Africa to America is a short eight-line poem that is written in a closed poetic form. The poet writes the poem with first-hand experience, having been brought to the United States as a slave from Africa. Rhyming and cadence of this poem are what make it stand out and easy to read. The first two lines which are “’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand (1-2),” really showcase rhyming and cadence. The poet is referring to Africa as a place of non-religion in these first couple lines. Lines three and four do not read as easily but contain the same elements. These lines speak to the poet learning of religion after being brought to the United States.

Lines four and five sound like they are speaking directly to the racism the poet faced. She even includes a quote to emphasize her point. The last two lines, “Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train (7-8),” seem like the poet is telling other slaves that it’s ok to jump on board with religion. Even though she has been treated so poorly, Christianity is still something the poet values from her experiences.  


Wheatley, Phillis. “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” Web. Accessed 24 November 2018.