AMAZING GRACE 5
Thepoem was written by John Newton, who was a captain of a slave ship.Newton wrote the poem among others just as a way of passing time.Later, he became a minister, and this made the poem gain worldwiderecognition and people adopted it as a song. In the poem, Newtonclaims that God has done wonders in his life, as he saved him from alife that was once hopeless and wretched. The music in the poem canbe attributed to the songs written by slaves who were being manned byNewton in the ship. The words used in the poem have had an immenseimpact on the meaning attributed to the poem. In this paper, I willevaluate three elements that I found interesting in the poem. Theliterary elements to be discussed are theme, similes, metaphors,parallelism, and tone among others.
Oneof the literary element that I found interesting from the poem is thetheme. The theme of the poem is God’s mercy. From the poem, it isevident that, through the mercies of God, every person can live alife that is meaningful. God saves people from situations that seemunworthy and glorifies them to respected members of the society.Therefore, people who are poor, lonely, isolated and downgraded inthe society have the opportunity to go up the social ladder withthe mercies of the Almighty God. In addition, the poem illustratedthe spiritual healing derived from the Grace of God. With the merciesof God, people who are seen as sinners have an opportunity to besaved from evil and live a fulfilling life, here on earth and inheaven (Aitken, 2013).
Anothertheme echoed throughout the poem is Christian faith and the wondersthat faith can do. Newton argues that he was once blind, but he nowcan see this portrays that through faith, all things are possible.It is his faith and belief in God that leads to the changes the poetwitnesses in his life. While reading the poem, one can conclude thatGod promises good things to all those who believe in him. The poethas also used similes in the poem. For example, he talks of “awretch like me” and “the earth shall soon dissolve like snow.”The similes are used to indicate the condition in which the poet usedto live, as well as the future changes that he expects in his life.The use of similes also helps the reader of the poem put themselvesin the shoes of the poet (Basker, 2002).
Thepoet has also employed the use of parallelism, which is used for thepurposes of catching the attention of people reading the poem. One ofthe phrases in the poem that illustrates parallelism is “Twas gracethat taught my heart to fear.” From this phrase, it can be deducedthat it is God who teaches man and also ensures that each man becomessafe. Figurative language in the poem is also demonstrated throughthe use of hyperboles. The use of hyperboles helps in supporting apoint that the author refers as significant. For instance, the authormentions “we have been here ten thousand years.” This hyperboleis employed to pass the crucial message that, since humans haveexisted on earth for many years, they need to praise and thank Godfor taking care of them (Aitken, 2013).
Tonecan be regarded as another literary element that is clearly depictedin the poem. In the poem, the tone is related to the mood that thewords of Newton create. From this poem, the tone can be described asgentle, and its aim is to make the reader appreciate salvation as agift that God has given man freely. From the words of the poet, heseems collected and relaxed when writing the poem, and his hope andfaith in God is unending. With the tone of the poem, it becomespossible for the reader to understand and value the benefits derivedfrom having faith in God (Basker, 2002).
Theuse of these elements had a significant impact on my response to thepoem. Through the use of the elements, I managed to gain a deeperunderstanding of the words in the poem. In addition, I got tounderstand what motivated the poet to write the poem and thereasoning behind his choice of words. After learning theliterary elements, my opinion about the poem changed significantly,and I gained the ability to apply the poem to real-life situations.The elements made me focus on diverse aspects of the poem as opposedto emphasizing on a single aspect.
Inconclusion, “” is a poem written by John Newton toportray the benefits derived from believing in God. Although Newtonhad a challenging childhood, he rose to the position of a slave shipcaptain. The blessings and mercies of God motivated him to write thepoem, which later became a song. Some of the literary elements thatthe poem clearly depicts include tone, theme, metaphors, hyperboles,similes, as well as parallelism.
Aitken,J. (2007). JohnNewton: From disgrace to amazing grace.Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books.
Basker,J. G. (2002). Amazinggrace: An anthology of poems about slavery, 1660-1810.New Haven (Conn.: Yale university press.