How Does Someone Overcome Adversity? (Tupac Shakur Essay Example)

In the poems “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” and “Caged Bird” poets Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou used unique scenarios, personification, and imagery to answer this difficult question. Shakur’s poem skillfully highlights persevering through the struggles, while Angelou’s poem uses poetic devices such as imagery and symbolism in her discussion of racism and identity. While both poems explore persevering through personal struggles, the tone of the respective poems are complete opposites. 

To begin, both poets use their poems to explore the idea of persevering through personal struggles. Shakur believes that one can reach their goals through digging deep and overcoming hardships. Shakur expresses this in his poem writing, “ Proving nature's law is wrong, it learned to walk without having feet.” This line confirms that you can counteract modern society’s guidelines through learning from your mistakes and pushing through the hardships. By doing this, anyone can accomplish their dreams and reach for the stars. Like Shakur, Angelou believes in pushing through obstacles and never giving up. This is shown near the end of the poem when she writes  “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird  sings of freedom.” The following stanzas focus on the topics of freedom and opportunity, but in a unique way. Though being wounded and traumatized, the bird continues to cry out for help, hence symbolizing determination and rebelling against your conflicts. In this way, both poets reiterate the idea of never giving up. 

While the two poems share similar ideas, their tones are completely different. More specifically, in “The Rose that Grew from Concrete,” the tone was bravery. This can be proven at the last line where it says, “Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.” Throughout this piece, Shakur used the rose to symbolize something deeper, a person who fought out of a difficult situation and eventually achieved their dreams. For this reason, the line reveals how it doesn't matter how you start, but where you finish. On the other hand, the mood in Caged Bird is more sorrowful. This can be proven in the 5th stanza where it states, “But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.” This stanza discloses the hardships that the bird was going through. Because of the cage, the bird wasn’t able to enjoy the freedoms of life, hence why it was fighting to get out. Overall, the tones of these two poems are complete opposites, with one being  about bravery and fighting your personal conflicts, and the other being more sorrowful.

Poetry enables us to share our stories and influence other people. While these poems were completely different, they spread important lessons such as to persevere through personal struggles, to always stay determined, and to never give up.



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