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What Is the Story Behind the Song, “Amazing Grace?”

John Newton, a slave-trader-turned-abolitionist, encountered a vicious storm which wrecked his ship. He and his crew mates pumped the water out of their vessel for at least nine straight hours. No one believed they had survived.

Reflecting on his life, and how many times he had avoided death, Newton penned a poem which people still sing. It’s called “Amazing Grace.”

Do you think that surviving a disaster, where death seems imminent, might cause a person to write about the experience? Why, or why not?

Would writing about a catastrophic event, which did not take your life, seem cathartic to you? In other words, would writing about what happened help you to better deal with your emotions? Explain your answer.

Why do you think 21st-century people still sing Newton’s song?


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