Phenomenal Woman Maya Angelou Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… Throughout the poem, repetition is used to enforce the theme. In an analysis from edublog.org, a critic writes “The poem uses a repetitive pattern in each stanza. Angelou starts the stanza with a description of someone’s reaction to the woman as they notice her. The reactions are all categorized by wonderment”. This wonderment in the reaction of those around the speaker shows that the attributes that make her phenomenal are not obvious to those around her. Angelou uses the reactions and uncertainty of those around her to emphasize the point that most people characterize exceptional women by obvious and surface attributes, and are not familiar with admiring a woman who is seemingly average. This forces the audience to reflect on the way they perceive a woman when she walks into a room: what is it that makes a woman special in the eyes of the public? In the poem, Angelou responds to the wonderment of those around the speaker by describing all the characteristics that make her so mysteriously phenomenal. To do this, Angelou uses specific diction that displays power confidence. For example, the speaker states “ The fellows stand or / Fall down on their knees” (lines 17-18). The word “fall” shows the influence the speaker’s presence has on the men around her. To further display this influence, Angelou uses a metaphor stating “Then they swarm around me, / A hive of honeybees” (lines 18-19). This suggests that the speaker’s presence cannot go unnoticed. One literary annotation that sums up the essence of “Phenomenal Woman” is found In NYU’s Database: “[…] the enduring feeling of the poem is still inner pride not related to traditional notions of beauty or attractiveness--a truly enviable self-image.”. This annotation highlights the theme of a woman’s strength by addressing Angelou’s emphasis on “inner pride”. In this poem, Angelou uses her own past and struggles to …show more content…
Like “Phenomenal Woman” and “Woman work”, the theme of femininity and strength are constantly focused on. In an article found on the World Author Website Project, it is stated “Angelou begins her poem with, ‘You may write me down in history/With your bitter, twisted lies.’ With the first two lines of her poem, Angelou transmits to her audience the immense confidence she has within her”. This analysis accurately supports the idea of perseverance found strung throughout Angelou’s works. By beginning the poem in this matter, Angelou shows the speaker’s acceptance of adversity and hardship. She uses loaded diction like “bitter” and “twisted lies” to convey the negativity that many African American women face. The above-cited analysis also addresses the confidence that readers are able to sense from the very start of this poem. This confidence can be inspirational for readers, specifically those who are female and have African American descent because it shows a fearlessness to face those who attempt to impose inferiority upon them. This sense of bravery and maintenance of virtue in the face of hardships shows the woman’s ability to walk toward whatever may face her with her head led

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