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Describe what the speaker asks in lines 1-8 of "To His Excellency General Washington"...

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eddiemizael | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 20, 2009 at 12:05 PM via web

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Describe what the speaker asks in lines 1-8 of "To His Excellency General Washington" the celestial choir to see.

in lines 13-22 to what three things does the speaker compar the colonial army.

and to whom are lines 29-38 addressed? how does this section of the poem differ from the rest.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:16 PM (Answer #1)

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In the first eight lines of the poem, Wheatley is calling on the heavens to examine the Colonial struggle for independence from the British.  She argues that this is a battle where the natural law which validates individual freedom hangs in the balance, and the gods should pay special attention to it.  The constant interplay between light and darkness might allude to the difficulty in the battle for Independence, the struggle for Colonial Identity in the Revlolutionary War, which was to be far from guaranteed or easy.  In lines 13- 22, Wheatley compares the Colonists' efforts to Eolus, the Greek King of Winds.  The comparison might be to link colonial struggle's strength to the power of the Greek god of winds.  She also invokes a comparison to the bounty of leaves that fall in Autumn, signifying that the struggle for colonial freedom is as thick and dense as leaves that fall on the ground.  Finally, when the poet brings to light the flag that waves in the air, she is suggesting that the colonial warrior's "train" will march and in this work, the work of fighting will be as powerful as the flag that waves "unfurl'd" in the air.  The end of the poem almost serves as a type of prophecy that suggests to all that America will win and Washington will assume "a crown, a mansion, and a throne that shines."  Wheatley concludes with this resounding call that the gods favor the Colonists' struggle for independence and victory is all but assured, with Washington's leadership intact.

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