Since I’ve been on campus I have rarely left my room because I’m immunocompromised. It isn’t extremely serious like some other people and I am thankful for that but I’m still wary. However, right outside of Douglass on the quad there is a bench that I’ll often go and sit on to do homework. It feels great to be in a wide open space with the sun on my face and the breeze blowing and not in my room. The slight chatter from other students walking around the quad makes the perfect white noise to focus. I would have included a picture but unfortunately it had been raining almost all day so I wasn’t able to go out there today.
The text that I chose to do a close read on was Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought From Africa to America”. One of the most important things that I noticed was the author herself was a slave so she is able to give a first hand perspective on the topic of being taken from Africa and sold into slavery. In the poem Wheatley uses an AABBCCDD rhyme structure. In line 1 she says that “mercy brought me from my pagan land.” which is in line with the accepted notion at the time that by enslaving Africans and taking them from their homeland they were being saved from a savage life. Wheatley reinforces this point in a few other lines such as in line 2 when she says “taught my benighted soul to understand…”. Wheatley also shows how she was treated by others because of the color of her skin in lines 5 and 6, “Some view of sable race with scornful eye, ‘their colour is a diabolical die'”. You can also see how much Christianity played a part in a slave’s life. As I stated previously she says she was taken from a pagan land (line 1), she also talks about how she was taught that “there’s a God…there’s a Saviour too” (line 4). She continues the Christian theme in the final two lines of the poem where she talks about how, despite what those around here (specifically she calls them Christians), people with “skins black as Cain” can also enter Heaven.
The object I chose is a statuette of St. Michael that I got from the Vatican. While I myself am not super religious, I got it on a trip with my grandfather who past away earlier this year. He was born in Sicily and immigrated to the US as a child. He used to go to Italy every year to visit our family that still lives there. Last year I was able to finally go with him. We visited our family in Siracusa for a month before going to Rome to visit more and we just happened to be in Rome for Easter. Being Italian my grandfather was a very strict Roman-Catholic and I got to truly see how much the Church meant to him. We got to watch the Pope do the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum. On Easter Sunday we went to the courtyard of St. Peter’s Basilica to watch the Pope’s Easter Address. My grandfather had never been to either of these events in his life and at one point during the address, he began to cry. Afterwards he got me the statuette from the Vatican because St. Michael was the Saint who I chose as my confirmation name. I was very close with my grandfather, even more so after that trip, and even though he is gone now, the statuette reminds me of him.
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