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Poem Africa

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  • October 2011
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Robert Barham
Professor Dean
English 102
15 September 2011
Regaining Her Strength
Women are the foundation of life. Many say that without women the world would not function. In the poem “Africa”, the speaker personifies the country as a woman who has gone through tribulations of getting her country stripped by white men enslaving her sons and daughters. Through it all she regains her strength. What she went through helped her to become a stronger woman, and stronger country. The speakers uses vivid imagery, metaphors, personification and gives human emotions to the continent. The entire poem is a extended metaphor to describe Africa as this beautiful woman who is going through devastating changes to her homeland. In Maya Angelou's poem “Africa”, the speaker portrays the country as this African American woman. The speaker uses metaphors and imagery of a woman’s body and Africa’s landscape throughout the poem starting in the first stanza. Thus she had lain,(1)

sugar cane sweet (2)
deserts her hair (3)
golden her feet (4)
mountains her breast (5)
two Niles her tears (6)
Notice how the speaker uses mountains portraying a woman breast, probably because mountains are big and are eye catching, and a woman's breast is one of her most valued and viewed body parts. The speaker uses the Nile River as her tears of pain that she is enduring. There is a lot of pain and anguish brought out through the poem. The speaker says “her screams loud and vain, her history slain” (lines 21,23). In this stanza, notice the structure and meter. The poet uses eight lines with four syllables in each. The stanza also has a rhyme scheme of a,b,c,b,d,e,a,e. Each second and fourth lines have end rhyme. In the second stanza the poet brings out “over the white seas, rime white and cold, brigands ungentle, icicle bold” (lines 9-12). This portrays when white men came over to Africa not in peace but to conquer. Later in the stanza it tells us why, “took her young daughters,...