Give an example of personification in the poem "To His Exellency, General Washington," by Phillis Wheatley.  

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This poem by Phillis Wheatley, "To His Excellency, General Washington," was written and sent in a letter to General Washington by the author.  Wheatley was obviously inspired by Washington, and his return letter to her is equally complimentary.  Wheatley uses many complex images and allusions, and this poem is no exception.  Your question is about personification, and I found several examples in the first few lines of this poem. 

While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!

Here, freedom and mother earth have been personified (inanimate objects given human qualities).  Freedom here feels alarm, and she "flashes dreadful"--both human actions which a literal freedom can not do.  Mother earth has children ("offspring") and she "bemoans" (cries out in woe over) their fate. 

If you keep reading, there are plenty more examples of personification in this poem.  The e-notes link below has some other helpful information regarding Phillis Wheatley and this particular poem. 

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