It takes a plethora of courage, hope and strength to make it out of certain situations or to simply get by on a day-to-day basis. The poems “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” by Tupac Shakur illustrate this idea using elements of imagery, repetition and heavy metaphors. Maya Angelou’s work deeply focuses on the set backs encountered living in times of racial disparity. Shakur’s poem personifies a rose that fought through to grow on concrete despite all the speculations and difficulties. Both works emphasize the idea that no matter how problematic the situation be, there is the need to dig deep and persevere.
As a poet, educator, historian, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is inspirational to countless amounts of people in similar situations as hers. Growing up in an oppressive society, Angelou experienced much of the segregation and social bias taken place in the United States. Angelou states:
I’m a black ocean, leaping wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise. (33-36)
This goes to show the racial barrier that she is more then determined to diminish. The “black ocean” is personified to emphasizes the breakthrough and newly found freedom which involves “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear” or in other words, slavery.
Angelou’s idea of perseverance is well represented all throughout the poem in a variety of ways, most being through the examples of oppression. For example Angelou writes:
Did you want to see my broken?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Weakened by my soulful cries. (13,16)
Exclaiming that the actions taken against her, which are meant to make her cry only, make her stronger. She follows this by the use of powerful metaphors saying “. . . . . . cut me with your eyes, / . . . . . . kill me with your hatefulness, / But still, like air, I’ll rise”...