Analysis of the poem 'Still I Rise'

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Kathleen Frederick
Ms. Kumpf
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

An Analysis of the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

African Americans have been oppressed for centuries. Despite this discrimination, people of this race have fought hard for their freedom and respect. This pursuit of equality is evident inMaya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise”. Angelou integrates numerous literary ideas such as various sounds, poetry forms, and key concepts.The poetic devices incorporated in Maya Angelou’s work, “Still I Rise”,heightens the overall effectiveness of the poem.

Maya Angelou uses several sound techniques throughout her poem. The first one that is especially evident is rhyming. The rhyming scheme for
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Like the natural elements of the moon, sun, and the tides, Angelou will rise above racial discrimination. Angelou uses this simile to provoke greater imagery to the reader through rhyming and creative word choice. Also by doing this she enhances the lyrical style and adds deeper meaning to it. Imagery is also apparent in each stanza. The imagery, “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”(5-8) describes how the poet will carry herself with confidence and as if she possesses a high status in society. Oil is a highly profitable resource. Angelou’s figurative expression that she has oil pumping in her living room addresses how she in a sense, possesses superiority and how that irritates black oppressors because she has risen above the impoverished lifestyles of her ancestors. The use of this figurative language allows the reader to develop a clear sense of Angelou’s demeanour, in a creative manner. In addition, Angelou uses symbolism as a way of expressing the equality that she is trying to achieve in society. The quote, “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,/I am the dream and the hope of the slave”(39-40) portrays how she is a product of the freedom her ancestor’s fought for during the Civil War. This symbolism contributes towards the overall effectiveness of the poem
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