Dr. Geraldine Seay
16 October 2012
Still I Rise
In the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, Angelou uses strong words to describe how she feels. She uses words like sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness, to describe herself. She asks her enemy does her sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness upset or offends them. Angelou is speaking to her audience of oppressors about how she had overcome racism, criticism, sexism, and personal obstacles in her life with pride and grace. Angelou uses literary elements such as personification, simile, and imagery to covey the theme.
Angelou uses the literary element personification to help the reader realize how you can rise above all negative words people can say to you. In the sixth stanza in Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” she says “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”. These are all perfect examples of personification used at its best. You can imagine being shot, cut, killed by someone’s brutal words, stares, and hate. This scenario that Angelou presents is very powerful because it shows how she was able to stand up against mental abuse.
Another literary element that Angelou uses in the poem is simile. The usage of a simile in the poem, “Still I Rise” helps you create an image in your mind. As she states in the first stanza (line 3-4) “You may trod me in the dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise. She’s saying to all her enemies that no matter what they say or do, she will rise above and remain strong. She wants
them to know she will stay true to herself and will change for no one. This would be a perfect example of a simile that Angelou uses in the poem because it is a mentality that everybody should posses. No matter how hard someone tries to bring you down, you still have to keep your head held high.
Imagery is also another literary element present in Maya Angelou’s poem....