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Phillis Wheatley Writing Styles in To His Excellency General Washington

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Phillis Wheatley is roundly considered to follow the neoclassical style of Alexander Pope, an early eighteenth-century poet highly regarded in Wheatley's era. She borrowed images from the neoclassical style easily, such as "realms of light," "astonish'd ocean," and "Autumn's golden reign." Wheatley also includes references to Greek mythology in her verse—the goddess of Freedom, muses and celestial choirs, Eolus, the god of wind. Her poem is written in heroic couplet, where rhyming is made within two lines, as in the last words of the second stanza's lines: "fair" and "hair," "skies" and "rise." As well as the rhyming couplets, Wheatley employed a similar number of syllables for every line—most of the lines consist of ten syllables. In the poem, the concept of freedom is abstracted, much in the style of neoclassicism. Yet there are also intimations toward the emotional style of the upcoming Romantic movement. Whereas neoclassicism...

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This section contains 213 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.