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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Phillis Wheatley

时间:2005-09-29 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wbnewbie   字体: [ ]
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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - January 6, 2002: Phillis Wheatley

By Vivian Bournazian
VOICE 1:
I'm Shirley Griffith.
VOICE 2:
And I'm Ray Freeman with the VOA Special English program, People in America. Every week we tell about


someone important in the history of the United States.
This week we tell about Phillis Wheatley, the first black female1 poet in the United States.
(Theme)
VOICE 1:
The girl who became known as Phillis Wheatley was born about seventeen-fifty-three in


Senegal, Africa. She was kidnapped and brought to the New England colonies2 in North
America on a ship that carried slaves. The ship's name was Phillis.
The girl was between seven and eight years old. She was weak and sickly. So her price was not


very high. She was sold in a slave market in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, in August
seventeen-sixty-one. John Wheatley, an international businessman, bought her to serve his wife, Susannah.

VOICE 2:

Phillis came from a culture that was very different from that of the Wheatleys. She found the food, customs and
beliefs to be new and strange. The other slaves in the house taught her many things about America.

Phillis quickly learned3 the rules of slavery. She learned that slaves could not beat drums because slave owners
feared that secret messages were being passed to slaves on other farms. She learned that in Southern states it was
a crime to teach a slave to read and write.

VOICE 1:

In Northern states in the seventeen-hundreds, black slaves were treated better than they were in the Southern
states. Restrictions4 against the education of slaves were not as severe as they were in the South. Many of the
slaves in New England were even urged to learn to read, especially the Bible5, the major book of the Christian6
religion. Many people thought that slaves should read the Bible so they could become better believers of the
Christian religion.

In New England, blacks were free to meet with each other in groups. Many times male slaves were accepted as
members of the community for special projects. These included gatherings7 to clean corn or to build a farm house.
Female slaves cooked for the groups.

VOICE 2:

From her earliest days as a slave, Phillis was a happy, busy person. She liked to keep busy. She especially liked
to do things with her hands. She quickly learned how to clean around the Wheatley house and how to do the
dishes. But her mind seemed to move even faster than her hands. She wanted to do everything.

Phillis's new family had unusual beliefs for the times. John Wheatley and his wife were educated people.
Susannah Wheatley believed that all human beings, including African slaves, could learn if given the chance. She
believed that all people, of any skin color, should love and respect each other. She treated Phillis more as a


daughter than as a slave. Mr. Wheatley said, "You're my black child. You're my Phillis."

Susannah Wheatley soon recognized Phillis's intelligence and desire to learn. Mr. Wheatley observed how Phillis
loved books and the care she took with them. At times, Phillis would smell the pages of the books and hold them
close to her.

VOICE 1:

One day, one of the slaves in the Wheatley home found Phillis writing on the wall of Mr. Wheatley's room with a
piece of coal. Phillis had been cleaning the dust from a book. She decided8 to copy the letters from the cover of
the book. The slave brought Mr. Wheatley to inspect the marks on the wall. But Susannah Wheatley did not get
angry. Instead, she smiled.

Mr. Wheatley gave Phillis a pencil and paper and a little table on which to write. She showed the writing on the
wall to her daughter Mary. Mary was as surprised as her mother at how well Phillis had copied the letters. Mary
told Phillis she would teach her to write -- on paper, not on walls.

VOICE 2:

Mary Wheatley began to teach Phillis to read and write English. She also taught Phillis the Christian religion.
Phillis learned quickly. She learned the English alphabet in a few weeks. In a year and one -half after she arrived
in America, Phillis could read English. And she could read and understand difficult parts of the Bible.

Phillis loved to learn new words. She enjoyed the new feelings that went with the sounds. She especially liked
writing and creating new ways of saying things.

VOICE 1:

Mary taught Phillis about writings from other countries. America was a young nation. It had not yet produced
writers and poets like older nations.

So Phillis studied the writings of European writers. She read the work of the Greek poet Homer, the English poets
Keats and Pope10, and the plays and poetry of Shakespeare. She read and re -read the Bible.

Phillis was about twelve years old when she began to write poetry. One of her earliest poems was about her
religious faith. It questioned how a person could not believe in God:

"Thou who dost daily feel his hand, and rod9

Darest thou deny the essence11 of a God!

If ther's no heav'n, ah! Whither wilt12 thou go. ... "

VOICE 2:

Phillis Wheatley's first major work was "An Elegiac Poem on the Death of the Celebrated13 Divine14." It was
published in seventeen-seventy. Phillis wrote the long poem to honor15 a famous clergyman who had died.

Phillis wrote mostly about religion and morals17. Many of her poems were created at the request of someone to
honor a family member who had died. Her poems are representative of the times. They expressed common
reactions to personal events such as deaths or marriages. Or they honored18 public events such as battles.

VOICE 1:

Phillis had an unusual life for a slave. Mr. Wheatley had stopped having Phillis do house cleaning jobs. She made
sure Phillis had time to study and to visit the family friends. But Phillis was not permitted to make friends with
other uneducated slaves. So she remained separate from both white and black worlds. While she was considered
above the other black slaves, she was never considered an equal of white slave owners.


One time she was invited to dinner in the home of one of Mr. Wheatley's relations. The servants said that it was
the first time they ever carried food to a woman with skin their color. But Phillis usually sat at a table separate
from the white people at a dinner party.

VOICE 2:
Phillis Wheatley became famous in Europe as well as in America. She travelled to London in seventeen -seventy-


three and gave poetry readings there. She was twenty years old. The writings of the young slave from Africa
surprised everyone.
During her visit in London, she was to have been presented to King George the third. But she received urgent19


news from America. Mr. Wheatley was very sick and had asked that Phillis return to Boston. Phillis returned


home quickly.
That meant she missed the publication20 in London of her book poems on various subjects, religious and moral16. It
contained thirty-eight of her poems. It was the first published book written by a black person in America. And it
was only the second book written by an American woman.


Newspapers in London highly21 praised her poems. Her book sold very well there and later in America.
VOICE 1:
Phillis Wheatley had one more brief period of being famous. In seventeen-seventy-five, she wrote a poem about


George Washington. He had become commander of the Colonial22 forces in the American revolution. The poem
was called "His Excellency General Washington." It called Washington "first in peace and honors23." She sent her
poem to him.

Some time later, she was invited to visit George Washington in his headquarters24. It was an unusual visit between
a black woman poet and a military commander.

VOICE 2:
Phillis took care of Susannah during her long final sickness. When Mr. Wheatley died in March, seventeen-
seventy-four, Phillis wrote that she had lost a friend and parent.


After Susannah's death, Phillis was freed by the Wheatley family. But her life became more difficult.


She married John Peters, a free black man. He failed in many business attempts. Their three children died at
a
very young age.
Phillis tried to publish another book of her poems. But now that she was free, she had lost her appeal as a slave


poet. Phillis Wheatley died poor and alone in seventeen-eighty-four. She was thirty-one years old.
(Theme)
VOICE 2:
This Special English program was written by Vivian Bournazian. It was produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Ray


Freeman.
VOICE 1:
And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for another People in America program on the Voice of


America.

 

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点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 female 3kSxf     
adj.雌的,女(性)的;n.雌性的动物,女子
参考例句:
  • We only employ female workers.我们只雇用女工。
  • The animal in the picture was a female elephant.照片上的动物是头母象。
2 colonies bd09786b76b982261351b68fad9d9e44     
n.殖民地( colony的名词复数 );(侨民等)聚居区;(动植物的)群体;(来自同一地方,职业或兴趣相同的)聚居人群
参考例句:
  • They amassed huge wealth by plundering the colonies. 他们通过掠夺殖民地聚敛了大笔的财富。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • But throughout the colonies, people relied primarily on small farms and self-sufficiency. 但就整个殖民地来说,人们主要依靠小型农场,过着自给自足的生活。 来自英汉非文学 - 政府文件
3 learned m1oxn     
adj.有学问的,博学的;learn的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • He went into a rage when he learned about it.他听到这事后勃然大怒。
  • In this little village,he passed for a learned man.在这个小村子里,他被视为有学问的人。
4 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
参考例句:
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
5 bible ZQzyQ     
n.《圣经》;得到权威支持的典籍
参考例句:
  • According to the Bible we are all the seed of Adam.根据《圣经》所说的,我们都是亚当的后裔。
  • This dictionary should be your Bible when studying English.学习英语时,这本字典应是你的主要参考书。
6 Christian KVByl     
adj.基督教徒的;n.基督教徒
参考例句:
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
7 gatherings 400b026348cc2270e0046708acff2352     
聚集( gathering的名词复数 ); 收集; 采集; 搜集
参考例句:
  • His conduct at social gatherings created a lot of comment. 他在社交聚会上的表现引起许多闲话。
  • During one of these gatherings a pupil caught stealing. 有一次,其中一名弟子偷窃被抓住。
8 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
9 rod xXex4     
n.钓竿,杆,棒
参考例句:
  • Pass me a bamboo rod.递给我一根竹竿。
  • He heated the iron rod and bent it into a right angle.他将铁棒烧热,将其弯成直角。
10 pope EOKxT     
n.(罗马天主教的)教皇
参考例句:
  • The Pope is the spiritual leader of many Christians.教皇是众多基督徒的宗教领袖。
  • The Pope is the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church.教皇是罗马天主教的最高领袖。
11 essence BiUzc     
n.本质,实质,精华,精粹
参考例句:
  • We must try to get to the essence of things.我们必须想法抓住事物的本质。
  • The two things are the same in outward form but different in essence.这两件东西外表形式一样,但实质不同。
12 wilt oMNz5     
v.(使)植物凋谢或枯萎;(指人)疲倦,衰弱
参考例句:
  • Golden roses do not wilt and will never need to be watered.金色的玫瑰不枯萎绝也不需要浇水。
  • Several sleepless nights made him wilt.数个不眠之夜使他憔悴。
13 celebrated iwLzpz     
adj.有名的,声誉卓著的
参考例句:
  • He was soon one of the most celebrated young painters in England.不久他就成了英格兰最负盛名的年轻画家之一。
  • The celebrated violinist was mobbed by the audience.观众团团围住了这位著名的小提琴演奏家。
14 divine dPWze     
adj.神的,上帝的,神圣的,如神的,非凡的
参考例句:
  • Jesus is believed by Christians to have been divine.基督教徒们相信耶稣是神。
  • The despot claimed to be the chosen instrument of divine providence.专制者声称自己是上天选定的统治工具。
15 honor IQDzL     
n.光荣;敬意;荣幸;vt.给…以荣誉;尊敬
参考例句:
  • I take your visit as a great honor.您的来访是我莫大的光荣。
  • It is a great honor to receive that prize.能拿到那个奖是无上的光荣。
16 moral 36oz9     
adj.道德(上)的,有道德的;n.品行,寓意,道德
参考例句:
  • Moral beauty ought to be ranked above all other beauty.品德之美应列于其他美之上。
  • He deceived us into believing that he could give us moral support.他骗得我们相信他能给我们道义上的支持。
17 morals bnPzlH     
n. 道德; 名词moral的复数形式
参考例句:
  • a self-appointed custodian of public morals 自封的公共道德的卫道士
  • We must arm the people against the lowering of our morals. 我们必须武装人们的头脑,以防我们的道德标准降低。
18 honored honored     
adj.光荣的:荣幸的v.尊敬,给以荣誉( honor的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • I hope to be honored with further orders. 如蒙惠顾,不胜荣幸。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • This is a time-honored custom. 这是一个古老的习俗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 urgent fjSwT     
a.紧急的,急迫的,紧要的
参考例句:
  • He asked to see the manager for something urgent. 他有急事求见经理。
  • A part of this urgent task was allotted to us. 这项紧急任务的一部分分给了我们。
20 publication xScxx     
n.出版,发行;出版;公布,发表
参考例句:
  • They don't think this article is suitable for publication.他们认为这篇文章不宜发表。
  • The government has delayed publication of the trade figures.政府已将贸易统计数字延后公布。
21 highly XdFxR     
adv.高度地,极,非常;非常赞许地
参考例句:
  • It is highly important to provide for the future.预先做好准备非常重要。
  • The teacher speaks very highly of the boy's behaviour.老师称赞这个男孩的表现。
22 colonial Hq9zJ     
adj.殖民地的,关于殖民的;n.殖民地,居民
参考例句:
  • The natives were unwilling to be bent by colonial power.土著居民不愿受殖民势力的摆布。
  • The people of Africa have successfully fought against colonial rule.非洲人民成功地反抗了殖民统治。
23 honors 2c250cb8374a2f7f18ab42ccf1291801     
n.礼仪;荣典;礼节; 大学荣誉学位;大学优等成绩;尊敬( honor的名词复数 );敬意;荣誉;光荣
参考例句:
  • He aims at honors. 他力求名誉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • We did the last honors to his remains. 我们向他的遗体告别。 来自《简明英汉词典》
24 headquarters Eryz21     
n.司令部,指挥部;总部,总店
参考例句:
  • Several great guns from the headquarters are coming to see us today.总部的几个大人物今天要来看我们。
  • The bank has its headquarters in Pairs.这家银行的总行在巴黎。
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TAG标签:   America  Phillis  Wheatley
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