Lit Crit Option - Joshua King
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Lit Crit option - Joshua King
This article discusses the use and treatment of the body of Christ in the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (EBB). The article focuses more on her anti-slavery poem such as the “Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”. In this article, it is argued thoroughly that this article reinstates the idea of the body of Christ in such a way that it resembles print culture that was prominent in abolitionist era (King, 2016). In order to fully analyze the poem, the source material for the poem was taken from its original publication, the Boston based antislavery annual magazine by the name of “The Liberty Bell”.
This annual’s primary contributors and supporters were not exclusively but mostly northern white men. These people had such sort of self-belief that they presented themselves as a messiah and that their suffering, much like Christ, would help in liberating slaves (King, 2016). The poem by EBB challenged this self-glorifying notion of these people by making comparisons to the well-known poem of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Her notion was that the symbols used by the authors of liberty bell; in order to liberate the ones they work so hard for, are actually the things that are reinforcing the idea of slavery and somewhat also justifies it.
Furthermore, the analysis in this article shows that the rhetoric perpetrated by the Liberty Bell writers such as a messianic bragging resembled more to the sacrifice made by Christ for the well-being of others. This way, whites have done their best to monopolize on the physical suffering of people of color either in an ethical or economic manner (King, 2016). The poem suggests that this type of portrayal of the sacrifice made by Christ can only be an instigator of race based violence. Hence, it stresses on the importance of using love as a method that can become a part of Christ’s body outside of any body of church.
Taking a look at this article, it could be said that this poem argues about anti-slavery. Elizabeth talks about a black female slave who gave birth to a white child after being raped by her masters. Elite whites portrayed themselves as the martyrs with Christ-like suffering that helped in the liberation of the slaves. Critical evaluation of this poem shows that Whites wanted to represent themselves as innocent but in fact they were the ones who made Blacks their slaves in the first place (King, 2016). Binary color has been used for depicting the different lifestyle as whites are considered to be the masters and blacks are looked down upon as the slaves. Evaluation of this article, shows that whites even used agony of the blacks for their economic and social benefit. White, in every walk of life wanted to show that they are superior to the blacks. In some of the cases, not only the white martyrs were compared with Christ’s sacrifice but preferred first to second.
This article is one of the most informative piece of writing that reflects transatlantic abolitionist discourse taking into account, the renewal in the roles that are played by Christianity reflected in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. There are several arguments that are proposed in this argument, taking into account that each of the arguments is equally significant and content oriented (King, 2016). As it is argued that in “The Runaway Slave”, Christ is represented in a translantic abolitionist print culture. It represents the issue in synchronization with the issue of “The Liberty bell” that is one of the authentic and significant aspect. Another argument refers to the self-glorifying rhetoric that makes a refrain out of words which present Christ as a messianic martyr which is also an authentic and arguable position. In a nutshell, this article argues basic facts and figures that can be associated to literal sources which is qualitative and authentic.
King, Joshua. "Transatlantic Abolitionist Discourse and the Body of Christ in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”." Religions 8.1 (2016): 3.
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