Significance Of Race In Writings Of Phillis Wheatley, And Role Of Religion In The Works Of John Winthrop And Mary Rowlandson

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Representation of Race in the Works of Phillis Wheatley’s Works

I will be writing about race and how it is significant in two of Phillis Wheatley’s writings, on being brought from Africa to America, and To Maecenas. Phillis Wheatley is writing so that others who have not been enslaved, can understand the struggles of being one. The attitudes of the slavers towards those of darker skin can be felt today as colorism in our society. In on being brought from Africa to America, she refers to Africans as being of “diabolic die” which if you extrapolate from the words would mean that the slavers believed them to be demons or demonic in nature. When speaking on Africa she infers that the white man believes that this is a “pagan” society, the connotation of being a pagan society is that it is lawless and lacking in religion.

They are seen as demons that can be saved by the grace of God and allowed into heaven if they convert to the Christian religion. In to Maecenas, Phillis Wheatly allows it is not referred to race implicitly it is a kind of allegory to her own life and he lacks freedom. She is using Greek and Roman mythology to show that being a black woman did not hinder her level of education. In the final line of the poem, Wheatley has expressed to Maecenas to defend her “lays” which is a short poem that is often sung. Which could be an allegory for how African slaves would sing to find freedom in the music, they would use coded messages in songs to escape. She is appealing to Maecenas to defend her songs which will set other slaves free.

Representation of Faith in John Winthrop a Model of Cristian Charity, and the Narrative of the Captivity of Mary Rowlandson by Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

My two readings for this question will be from John Winthrop a Model of Cristian Charity, and the Narrative of the Captivity of Mary Rowlandson by Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.

The central theme in the short story is the uncertainty of life. After the attack, she understands that no one is guaranteed a life. And that material things such as a house can be gone without any forewarning at any time. Rowlandson contemplates killing herself, but she doesn’t take her own life as she believes she is lucky to be alive. During her captivity with the Indians, she faces uncertainty as they will treat her nicely one day and the next would starve her. She is also told she would be reunited with her family but the next day, taken even further into the wilderness. In the story she learns to not take anything for granted, as she doesn’t believe will make it to the end of the journey. Another theme in the story is her unwavering faith in Gods will. During this whole experience, Mary keeps her faith and refers to everything good that happens to her is a blessing of God. Puritans believe that God arranges everything with a purpose “yet the Lord still showed mercy to me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so He healed me with the other”.

During her captivity, she observes that her previous idea of what savagery and civilization meant to her has changed. At first, Mary views civilization as savage and are not wild. And so, Mary finds herself she believed the Indians in her mind to be uncivilized and savage. But, as her time with Indians continues, she sees similarities between the settlers and the Indians, such as the Indian wearing colonists clothing and praying. Mary even stats behaving as they are and eating and enjoying their food. Her idea of what savagery and civilization is has changed in the face of the nature of the Indians.

In John Winthrop’s a Model of Christian Charity, he seeks to have unity and conformity, which he believes will make the colony prosperous. In the speech, Winthrop is using a persuasive way of speaking and figures of speech to reinforce his idea of a “city on a hill,” which refers to the aforementioned unity.


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