Criticism of A Letter From Phyllis Wheatly

The poem which Hayden described as a ‘psychogram,’ is an epistolary form of a dramatic monologue in which the former slave writes to her friend Obour during a visit to London in 1773. With wry humor she relates her encounter with a young chimney-sweep who, observing her dark skin, asks, 'Does you, M’lady, sweep chimneys too?' She also notes the hissing scorn of 'would-be Wits' who 'murmur of the Yankee Pedlar/ and his Cannibal Mockingbird', a phenomenon she refers to as the 'Serpent' in idyllic England's Eden.

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