Still I Rise, Feminist Poem Analysis

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Still I Rise is a poem written with Maya Angelou herself as the speaker. She is speaking to her audience about how she has overcome racism, criticism, sexism, and personal obstacles in her life with pride and grace. Still I Rise has a positive and strong tone throughout the entire poem. The words Angelou used also make it seem as though the she 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. This poem is historically rooted with the mentions of slavery, a “past of pain,” and “gifts of ancestors,” however she is speaking in the present having to overcome all of the hardships of her past and embarking on the rest of her journey with the knowledge that she is a strong African American woman. Still I Rise is about overcoming oppression with grace and pride, having no sympathy for the oppressors and giving to validity to the reasons for oppression.

There is rhyme every other line for most of the poem that immediately guides the reader through the poem. The phrases “I rise” and “Still I rise” are used repetitively throughout the poem to show that the speaker continues to overcome each situation of oppression and each oppressor.

Imagery is dominant in this poem, especially after Angelou questions her oppressors. She gives the us images like “I walk like I’ve got oil wells /Pumping in my living room” and “Shoulders falling down like teardrops” and ” I dance like I’ve got diamonds/ At the meeting of my thighs.” There is also the repeating image of air and dust rising. Much of her imagery is conveyed through similes and metaphors. This usage of figurative languages gives us a very clear picture of what Angelou means and usually conveys a strong emotion. For example, when Angelou says “Shoulders falling down like teardrops,” we get an image of drooping shoulders (like the shape of a tear) and...
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