Question and Answer Assignment
1. John Wheatley said he purchased Phyllis as a “companion” for his wife, Susanna. Is there
evidence that Susanna treated Phyllis as a companion? If not a companion, how did
Susanna, and even John, treat Phyllis? Support your answer with at least three pieces of
textual evidence from the biography.
2. How is slavery something that both saved and imprisoned the narrator of this poem?
Support your answer with at least three pieces of textual evidence.
3. “To His Excellency General Washington”
Scholars often disagree and debate whether or not Phyllis Wheatley’s “To His Excellency
General Washington” was an appropriate issue for her to address. Some scholars argue that
Wheatley should have focused more on the freedom and rights of slaves and not engrossed
herself in the political climate of America. However, other scholars argue that Wheatley was
“ahead of her time” and knew that revolutionizing America would lead to changes in slavery.
What is your stance? Support with at least three pieces of textual evidence.
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