Against All Odds Essay

1360 Words 6 Pages
K. Weir
English 1020
Prof. T. M.
November 24, 2009
Still I rise: Against all Odds
Maya Angelou is an accomplished African-American author, poet, historian, and civil rights activist in the United States. Growing up in the South, she continues to face greater challenges for both being black and a woman. Most of her literary works, if not all, provide not only messages of oppression, and moments of unhappiness, but have a rich context of triumphs, resilience and hope. Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise” can be viewed from both cultural and historical perspectives. As a source of inspiration, the poem shows African Americans and women that the human spirit can transcend difficulties. In her poem, “Still I Rise,” Maya Angelou includes sturdy
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It is inferred that those who chose to record history may be biased in presenting information, which turns out to be inaccurate. The bitter twisted lies sometimes involve the false accusations of rape, and other criminal activities. In the history of this country, as it continues today, an African American can be attacked just because of how he or she looks. In the midst of all this experience, she has hope and optimism to overcome all the emotional and physical anguish brought on by the past.
The theme of personal value is not just about accepting your own physical attributes, but inner beauty and self worth. In lines 5, 12, and 25, the speaker asks, “Does my sassiness upset you? / Does my haughtiness offend you? / Does my sexiness upset you?” To enhance the theme of personal value and self worth, the keywords “sassiness,” “haughtiness,” and “sexiness” portray confidence and refer to the hidden treasures of personal value that the speaker, as a black woman, wants to be explored. She wants to be accepted and appreciated for these personal qualities. Moreover, she is letting the oppressor know that if anyone should be offended, it is her. The possessions of these personal values stir up confidence and courage. In subsequent lines, Angelou writes, “'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells/ 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines/ That I dance like I've got diamonds” (lines 7, 19, and 27). “Oil wells,”

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