Maya Angelou: The Strength of the Human Spirit Essay

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In Maya Angelou’s third book of poetry And Still I Rise, the personal struggles of the African American Woman are brought to life through poetic works. With inspirations drawn from personal journeys of Maya Angelou herself, powerful poems praise, celebrate, and empathize with the feminine colored experience. Angelou’s writing sheds glaring light on themes of feminine power, beauty, and perseverance, raising the African American Woman to a pedestal that demands respect and adoration. For Angelou’s audience, the everyday woman is presented equipped with all the necessities to thrive and shine in the face of adversity. In Maya Angelou’s works “Phenomenal Woman”, “Woman Work”, and “Still I Rise”, audiences are able to connect to the strength …show more content…
For audiences, this depiction allows for a definition of power for woman that is not comprised of perfect and reserved traits. Angelou stresses the bold physical features of her character that make her not only human and relatable to her audience, but also strong and unhindered by the opinions of others. This pride in her unconventional embodiment of the word “phenomenal” suggests that Angelou faced adversity with undying strength through self- love. The poem “Phenomenal Woman” presents a theme of feminine strength through its structure and diction. Throughout the poem, repetition is used to enforce the theme. In an analysis from, 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

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