Which Rhyming Couplet From Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination” Contains an Inverted Sentence? [Depth in Poetry]

which rhyming couplet from phillis wheatley’s “on imagination” contains an inverted sentence

Unlocking the Secrets of Poetry

When diving into the ocean of Phillis Wheatley’s poetic prowess, one question often surfaces, stirring the minds of literature enthusiasts: which rhyming couplet from Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination” contains an inverted sentence?

This query not only piques our curiosity but also opens a window into Wheatley’s masterful manipulation of language, showcasing her ability to infuse complexity and depth into her verses. Let’s embark on a journey to unravel this mystery, shining a light on the artistry woven into Wheatley’s words.

The Essence of Inversion in Poetry

In the realm of poetry, every word, every punctuation mark, and indeed, the very structure of sentences, is a deliberate choice by the poet to convey emotion, create rhythm, or highlight a particular image or idea. Phillis Wheatley, a pioneering African American poet of the 18th century, understood this intimately.

Her work “On Imagination” is a testament to her skill, particularly noticeable in a rhyming couplet that plays with the traditional sentence structure to leave a lasting impact on the reader.

The Spotlight Rhyming Couplet

In this exploration, we direct our focus to the heart of Wheatley’s poem:

“And see with ‘awful wings’ the distant deep, Wherein mysterious beings love to creep.”

This couplet is a masterclass in poetic inversion. Typically, the structure follows a subject-verb-object arrangement. However, Wheatley flips this on its head, leading with the verb “see” before introducing the subject “I” implicitly. This inversion does more than just catch the eye; it emphasizes the act of seeing, drawing the reader’s attention to the imagery and emotion behind the observation. The effect is a rhythmic and engaging reading experience that elevates the theme of the poem.

The Power of Word Choice

Wheatley’s dexterity with language extends beyond structure to her choice of words. Describing the act of seeing with “awful wings” invokes a sense of awe and grandeur, while “the distant deep” and “mysterious beings” conjure images of an unknown, almost mystical world. This careful selection of words enhances the emotional depth of the couplet, reinforcing Wheatley’s exploration of imagination and its intersections with nature.

Conclusion: A Testament to Wheatley’s Legacy

Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination” is rich with literary techniques that demonstrate her formidable talent and intellectual depth. The particular rhyming couplet with its inverted sentence not only adds intrigue but also exemplifies Wheatley’s ability to engage the reader on multiple levels—through structure, word choice, and thematic depth.

As we decode the intricacies of her poetry, we gain not only a deeper appreciation for Wheatley’s craft but also a greater understanding of the power of language in shaping thought and emotion. This rhyming couplet, with its poetic inversion and evocative imagery, stands as a shining example of Wheatley’s enduring legacy in the literary world.