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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Poem Analysis

Rhyme Scheme
- lies, rise
- gloom, room
- tides, rise
- eyes, cries
- hard, yard
- eyes, rise
- wide, tide
- fear, clear
- gave, slave

With the exception of the last stanza, the rhyme scheme is A,B,C,B. In the last stanza

Just like moons and like suns – simile
Comparing how she continuously raises herself up emotionally to stay strong just, like how the moon and sun rises everyday no matter what happens. I’ll rise; I rise – repetition
By repeating these words it makes the words that much more powerful and makes it stand out and also emphasises Angelou’s message, which is to stay strong and to never allow anything or anyone stop you from fighting and living strong. Does my sassiness upset you? ; Do you want to see me broken? ; Does my haughtiness offend you? ; Does my sexiness offend you? By questioning the readers (“you”), it catches the reader’s attention and is affective because it makes readers realize how many people have made the person (“I”) feel and how many people may be feeling, it makes readers read the poem and take it to a more personal level. oil wells; gold mines; diamonds – metaphor

These are often known to be expensive and valuable, and Angelou is relating these to the value of herself. She is worth just as much as everyone else and therefore she should receive just as much respect and love like others. Shoulders falling down like teardrops – simile

Comparing how a person’s shoulders drop as they lose confidence in them self and when feeling down, similar to how tears drop done one’s face when upset or hurt. At the meeting of my thighs
Expressing her sexuality of being a woman
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide
The colour black is usually used to create a sense of fear and evil. A “black ocean” seems to describe an ocean that is full of cruelty and how things occur unexpectedly. This may be referring to how her own life is, full of horrific and unexpected events. The “black ocean” may also be describing her own race which allows readers to understand that the poem is about racism.

Still I Rise has a positive and strong tone throughout the entire poem. The words Angelou used also makes it seem as though the character in the poem is talking to the readers. By doing so Angelou got the readers to get more personally involved in the poem emotionally which helps to make readers realize how humans are all guilty of discriminating others in some form. The poem should be read with confidence, especially in the parts “I’ll rise and “I rise” to show the strong attitude the person (“I”) has about them self. In some lines for example “’Cause I laugh like I’ve...
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