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To His Excellency General Washington Criticism

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Jay Parini, writing of Wheatley in Columbia History of American Poetry, explains that "from the time of her first published piece to the present day, controversy has surrounded the life and work of America's first black poet, and only its second published woman poet. . . . Few poets of any age have been so scornfully maligned, so passionately defended, so fervently celebrated, and so patronizingly tolerated." In Critical Survey of Poetry, English Language Series, John Shields points out that "one of the major subjects of her poetry is the American struggle for independence . . . Wheatley so energetically proclaims America's success in the political arena certainly attests her sympathies . . . that a people who find themselves unable to accept a present, unsatisfactory government, have the right to change that government, even if such a change can be accomplished through armed revolt." This poem is a description of that feeling. There has been much...

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This section contains 299 words
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Poetry for Students
To His Excellency General Washington from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.