Good Example Of Essay On Comparison Of Phillis Wheatley And Philip Freneau Poetry

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Poetry, America, United States, Poet, Phillis Wheatley, Teenagers, Death

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/18

Phillis Wheatley and Philip Freneau were poets who lived and wrote their works during the same period of time – the 18th century, and in the same country. All the same the lives of these poets had a diametrically opposed development, as Phillis Wheatley was an Afro-American poetess and Philip Freneau was an American poet. So, of course, there exist some similarities and differences in their poetic style, structure and the main themes of their poetry.
Phillis Wheatley, at a young age, was kidnapped in Africa, sold into slavery and transported to America. Her owners were the people, who have contributed to her education and helped to publish her poetic works. In particular the collection of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame and freedom. If we turn to the peculiarities inherent Whitley’s poetry, we will note the following features: most poems were written in an iambic pentameter, simple male doubles rhymes. Heroic couplet can be considered as Whitley’s favorite verse, so typical for the sublime poetic genres. She does not mind to try her hand at trying to write using free (To Maecenas) and blank verses (To the University of Cambridge). The construction of syntactic structures in her poems is not very complicated. The preference is given to simple temporal forms. Among stylistic devices Whitley often chooses hyperbole and paraphrase. In her works frequent recourse to God, the Muses, can be easily detected, as the usage of them was spread in the neoclassical poetry. Comparisons are also presented in the forms of Biblicisms, the same applies to the allusion: “’twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,/ Taught my benighted soul to understand/ That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too.” (Wheatley)
Epithets used by Wheatley basically give examples of stable combinations of traditional English poetry – golden dream; tuneful, jolly, cooling stream; smiling year; blissful land. (Wheatley) About one-third of all Wheatley poems are elegies, although she brings together English and Puritan elegy. Wheatley’s elegy is usually a mourning for the deceased (On the Death of a young Lady of five Years of Ag, On the Death of a young Gentleman, To a Lady on the Death of her Husband Goliath of Gath), and follow the canons of the English Renaissance elegy that is supposed to “praise the deceased, mourn his passing and comfort the mourners.” (Rigsby)
The main themes of Wheatley’s poems are religious in their nature and style. Among her best-known poems is To S. M. a young African Painter, on seeing his Works – a poem that praises another young and talented representatives of Africa and inspiring him to create some new art works. This short poem shows strong religious feelings of the poetess in the light of its experience of conversion to Christianity. This poem does not suit some modern critics. White critics find it trite and dark-skinned critics are unhappy because it did not protest against the immorality of slavery. However, this work differs with sincere expression of feelings and thoughts. In it the author opposes racism and white asserts spiritual equality. In fact, Wheatley was the first, who confidently put such urgent issues in verses, for example, in the poem On being brought from Africa: “Once I redemption neither fought now knew,/ Some view our sable race with scornful eye,/ "Their colour is a diabolic die."/ Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,/ May be refin’d, and join th' angelic train. (Wheatley)
Philip Freneau was the first of many poets that raised in his poems the problem of fate of Indians, depicted the incomparable richness of nature continent, love and respect for her, described life and world view of Aboriginal, focused his attention on strong sense of national pride, describing the life of the indigenous inhabitants of North America. These motifs are reflected in the works of the poet: The Beauties of Santa Cruz, The House of Night, The Indian Burying Ground, The Wilde Honeysuckle. As for the aesthetic views of the poet, he was a follower of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and also defended the sovereign rights of the people, fought for original literature of the New World.
In the poetry The Wilde Honeysuckle nature takes an important place. The image of nature also has a metaphorical meaning. The poet was the first to introduce this theme in American literature even before the phenomenon of American Romanticism. The Wilde Honeysuckle is a striking example of pastoral poetry and philosophical lyrics.
In the descriptions poet skillfully adjectives and adverbs operates, often uses the participle phrases: comely, quietly, unpitying, fair, silent, dull, honied, little, roving, busy, vulgar, white, soft, gay, frail, Hid in this silent, dull retreat, eternal, joyous, imaged, painted, swelling, lofty, curious, wearing, aged, far, restless, pale, braided, barbarous, midnight, timorous; Untouched thy honied blossoms; Unseen thy little branches, declining to repose etc (Freneau). The usage of a large number of adjectives and phrases makes the vocabulary of the poems more emotive, although the author does not use either metaphorical forms or repetitions. Epithets help to create the atmosphere and the amount of reflection.
According to the article in the Oxford Dictionary, the vocabulary of Philip Freneau’s poetry was typical for contemporary English language that was spoken by immigrants in the United States. The language itself is simple, clear different social strata of the population. Mood and emotions of poets works meet the basic characteristics of American Romanticism. (Stevenson, Angus, and Christine A Lindberg, 2096)

Works Cited

Freneau, Philip. 'All poems of the poet: Philip Freneau - Poems'. Poemhunter.com. N.p., 2004. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Rigsby, Gregory. 'Phillis Wheatley's Craft As Reflected In Her Revised Elegies'. The Journal of Negro Education 47.4 (1978): 402. Web.
Stevenson, Angus, and Christine A Lindberg. New Oxford American Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Wheatley, Phillis. 'Poet: Phillis Wheatley - All poems of Phillis Wheatley'. Poemhunter.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

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