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A Feminist And Structuralist Analysis Of "Phenomenal Woman" University Of Mindanao, Literary Criticism Research Paper

1411 words - 6 pages

Dennie Belle G. Valle August 8, 2017
English 29- Literary Criticism (3rd Exam)
“A Feminist and Structural Analysis”
Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. 
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them, 
They think I’m telling lies. 
I say, 
It’s in the reach of my arms, 
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me. 
I walk into a room 
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man, 
The fellows stand or 
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me, 
A hive of honey bees.   
I say, 
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 
Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me. 
They try so much 
But they can’t touch 
My inner mystery. 
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say, 
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile, 
The ride of my breasts, 
The grace of my style. 
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 
Now you understand 
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about 
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing, 
It ought to make you proud. 
I say, 
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me.
The Feminist Approach
This poem is entitled “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou. It embodies numerous feminist characteristics and the poem defines what makes a woman phenomenal. The initial lines implies full of women’s activist thought, as the poet says, “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. / I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size". Angelou is obviously suggesting our way of life's association between thinness and the attractiveness of a women. From a feminist perspective, I think this is a biased societal expectation because women are expected to starve themselves just to achieve the standards of being “pretty”, while in a broader sense of male body types are deemed attractive. Nonetheless Angelou, an advocate of feminism, disputes the connection between skinniness and sex appeal, as the speaker asserts that she is far from model-thin, but still beautiful in her own way. She goes on to claim that her attractiveness lies in "The span of my hips", among other features, and then closes the stanza with "I'm a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That's me." By imploring her own confidence in her more curvaceous body type, Angelou's piece serves as an inspiration to the majority of women who don't fall within the super model classification.
"I walk into a room / Just as cool as you please, / And to a man, / The fellows stand or / Fall down on their knees." In these lines, the poet begins to explore the male and...

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