Still I Rise By Maya Angelou Essay

728 Words Sep 4th, 2014 3 Pages
In “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, the speaker’s identity is slowly developed throughout the poem so that we are not completely sure of the speaker’s identity. The speaker is a black female that while she is speaking for herself, she is also speaking for an entire population of people just like her. People like her who are determined to rise above the historical oppression saying, “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear/ I rise/ Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear/ I rise…” (lines 35-38). The speaker conveys the motif of identity through her use of tone, repetition, and imagery. Tone plays a big role in the development of identity in the poem. In the beginning of the poem, the tone is critical and accusatory. Angelou starts the poem with: “You may write me down in history/ With your bitter, twisted lies…” (lines 1-2). When she says, “You may write me down in history” (line 1), this allows the reader to know that the speaker is referring to some historical event letting the reader know that the speakers ancestors have faced some sort of oppression in the past. The use of “you” in the poem helps add to that accusatory tone and makes the poem more personal to the reader. Most of the poem uses that same accusatory tone, but an argument could be made that in a few of the stanzas, there is a bit of a sarcastic tone. This is evident when she uses rhetorical questions like, “Does my sassiness upset you?/ Why are you so beset with gloom?” (lines 5-6). That sassiness…

Related Documents