"Still I Rise" Poetry Analysis example

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"Still I Rise" Poetry Analysis

Angelou connects with slave descendants by referencing history as a “past that’s rooted in pain” while highlighting the timelessness and relentlessness of the stand she makes in spite of it, through poetic expression. She speaks directly to those affected with a message of hopeful resilience that is to expunge that which for so long kept them with a “[bowed] head and lowered eyes”.

The subtle reiteration of the word ‘still’ right before ‘I’ll rise’ reinforces the point that however grave any circumstances may be, there is simply no stopping human beings from standing up for what they believe in and what they feel they deserve. She addresses oppressors through questioning their humanity, using metaphors of weapons to symbolize their violent behaviour. This potentially addresses slave descendants even more directly, as it recalls the pain felt through those times with the intention of reinforcing the need to rise against it.

“Weakened by my soulful cries” could be seen as almost a prayer, for it calls attention back to the utmost depths of feeling — the root of being — in order to appeal against the cruelty that has stained so many people’s spirits. Similarly, the question about ‘gloom’ holds a certain ambiguity, for the whole dynamic of slavery infected all of humankind with a sense of darkness and thus it establishes a common ground that is to be left behind. She subsequently expresses the experiential contrast through similes of wealth and natural phenomena.

Works Cited

Online Sources

Angelou, Maya. “Still I Rise”. PoemHunter.com. N.p., 2017.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/still-i-rise/ Accessed 24 Mar. …

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