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Maya Angelou's Still I Rise Essay

1123 words - 5 pages

This seminar paper will look at a poem written by Maya Angelou, Still I rise, 1978. An analysis of this poem will be provided, exploring the meaning of the poem and the language used to present a certain image to the audience.
“Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture”(www.mayaangelou.com, 2014).
This poem is Maya Angelou speaking to the audience as she explains the problems she has overcome such as; racism, sexism, bullying and other problems in her life that she has managed to move on from.This poem is set in a first person narrative, Angelou explains to the audience about the good and bad times within her life, presented in a graceful way. By the poem being set in first person narrative, this allows the audience to connect to the poet on a deeper level because the tone of the poem is more intense throughout, making it more real for the audience. This genre of poetry is lyric poetry, relating to Angelou’s feelings and thoughts throughout the poem, addressing the audience directly.
This poem is structured within eight stanzas, the first seven stanzas contain four lines within each stanza, however,the last stanza contains fifteen lines, with major emphasis on, “I rise”. The last fifteen lines may have been used to conclude the poem at the end, for one last time show the audience her head held up high. During the poem, the tone throughout is positive and negative, although you may hear the strength and passion in her voice about overcoming these problems, she still presents anger. This allows the reader to experience in sections how Angelou really felt.
The setting is created throughout the poem, “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise,”(stanza 6) this allows the reader to imagine a setting of hate and negativity, but also “I’ll rise,” allows the reader to distinguish that this relates to the black population still moving forward,after all the racism and discrimination. Whereas, “you,” is related to the white population, this shows the division of both races. This is a setting of one of Angelou’s problems, overcoming racism, and still rising.
“Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave,” (stanza 8) this line relates to slavery, the pain she and her family went through during these times of cruelty. This also allows us to picture the author, Angelou, as a strong African woman, who has overcome many obstacles in her life. “Still I rise,” the name of the poem is repeated throughout the poem to intensify her strength and pride of overcoming her past experiences, and also that she continues to overcome other situations. This allows the poem to be viewed in a positive way by the audience as Angelou overcomes these situations and being able to connect with the reader as she portrays...

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