Maya Angelou: Still I Rise Analysis Example
Maya Angelou was a well-known civil rights activist and author; However, she is most known for her poetry. Angelou's poem “Still I Rise” is full of figurative language, the most notable quality of Angelou’s poem is the tone of confidence, anger and xxxx which conveys the meaning and themes of the poem. The overall theme of the poem is one of being strong in character; resilient, defiant. To be able to overcome adversity, abuse and ridicule, if one is able to show strength of mind and pride in oneself; the strong spirit of the person will be an annoyance to others; the perpetrators. Enemies strive to weaken the spirit, as it makes one less likely to fight back.
There is a copious amount of information within the first stanza, the reader learns that she is addressing someone unknown. The diction used in the first stanza conveys strong emotions of anger, these strong emotions help reveal that this unknown person she is addressing represents her oppressors. according to the author her oppressor lies about her, she compares the lies as being “trod” “in the very dirt”. She tells her oppressor that their words have no effect on her by saying that if she is treated like dirt, she will be the dust that rises “like dust, I'll rise.” (line 3) This indicates that she has experienced difficulties in life. but no matter what her oppressor does to her, her spirit will never break.
The second stanza starts off with the question “Does my sassiness upset you?” (5) here she called her own tone sassy, then asks the oppressor if they find it upsetting. . The next line she asks another question “Why are you beset with gloom?” (6) She asks this question because she knows that her oppressors are unhappy when does well and succeeds. The last two line of the second stanza use symbolism, “Cause I got oil wells / Pumping in my living room” (7-8) Oil is often associated with wealth, someone who owns their own oil well obviously would make money. The oil wells in her living room symbolizes her success and her motivation to work for success, also that she's rich with confidence. The speaker’s use of the questions pulls the reader into the poem, because the reader now has to ask themselves these questions too.
The moon and the sun rises, tides rise and push back and forth. “Just like Moons and suns / with certainty of the tides.” (lines ) The beginning of the third paragraph starts off with the speaker by comparing herself to things that rise physically, by doing this she further illustrates the point that she will rise figuratively. This imagery setting also tells her oppressors that her strength and resilience will be “certain” like natural forces. “Just like hopes springing high / still I rise.” Here, the speaker is saying she has high hopes, and she may be down on her luck and not where she wants to be now, but she is going to rise as high as her hopes are.
(after every stanza analysis) Repetition is one of the many poetic devices used in this poem. The repeating phrase that is used at the end of every stanza is “Still I Rise.” The repetition of the phrase puts emphasis that the writer will always rise no matter what her oppressors put her through. The repetition also shows her confidence, because she is brave enough to stand up for herself. Symbolism is also used the repeating phrase “Still I rise” represents never giving up, and that getting back up is always an option.