Still I Rise - Maya Angelou (Reading Log) Essay

886 Words May 26th, 2013 4 Pages
Still I Rise
Maya Angelou
The poem ‘Still I Rise’ written by American author Maya Angelou is written from the perspective of Maya herself. She is speaking to her audience of oppressors about how she has overcome racism, criticism, sexism, and personal obstacles in her life with pride and grace. It describes her personal struggle through life and how she managed to pull through and how she will continue on her life journey. This poem is historically rooted with mentions of slavery, a “past of pain” and “gifts of ancestors”; she is however speaking in the present and how she is embarking on a new journey.
Throughout this poem we are introduced to various themes and symbols, a strong symbol being the ‘rising of the dust’. Dust only rises
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Racism was a major theme throughout the poem, as Maya describes how the white race was dominant in America, the ‘I’ throughout the poem is the black race, and the ‘you’ is the white race. It is a discussion between black and white, where Maya Angelou speaking, is taking pride in her heritage and what she has come from. I feel ashamed that America was once like this, everybody deserves equal treatment and it sickens me to think that skin colour determines the quality of a person.
Maya has written this poem in a very unique way, there is a rhyme every other line for most of the poem the immediately guides the reader through the poem. Imagery is dominant in this poem, especially after Maya questions her oppressors. Most of the imagery is conveyed through similes and metaphors, and gives the readers a clear view on what Maya is trying to get across. The use of figurative language gives the readers a clear picture of what Maya means and usually conveys a strong emotion. When Maya says “Shoulders falling down like teardrops” we can get an image of drooping shoulders (like the shape of a tear) and the tear itself is associated with sadness. I found one particular stanza quite amusing; Maya asks questions that are aimed at the ‘white’ people. ‘Does my sassiness upset you?’, ‘Why are you beset with your gloom?’ Maya is being somewhat playful in asking the questions, because she knows she has succeeded after

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