FIQWS 10008 HA 16
Prof.Crohn Still I Rise Poem Analysis
Still I Rise is a great, powerful poem about the battle to overcome prejudice and injustice. . When read by those who can relate to repeated wrongdoing, the poem becomes a kind of anthem, a beacon of hope for the oppressed. It is an indication of the maltreatment of power by the individuals who sit in government, the judiciary, in the military and in the police force. For individuals from the general population, for society, it conveys the reasonable, rehashed message of hope. No matter the circumstances, one must always have faith. “Scholarly writing about African American women clearly reveals their perilous social positions in society because of the interlocking and interactive forces of race, sex, and class.” (Armoring: Learning to Withstand Racial Oppression, pg. 1)
This stunning poem is full of figurative language and when read through, it comes over as a common song for the oppressed. The message is loud and clear: no matter the mistreatment, regardless of method and outcome, the victim will rise up, the slave will overcome adversity.Any honest individual, any minority, any country subject to persecution or misuse could comprehend the hidden topic – don’t yield to torment, harassment, mortification and unfairness.
This is a poem aimed at the oppressor. I realized the first ‘You’ in the first line and the rhyme scheme a-b-c-b, which tightly knits the stanza together. It’s worth going through the rhyme’s effect because the full rhymes such as eyes/cries, hard/backyard, surprise/thighs continue up to the last two stanzas when the scheme changes from a-b-c-b to a-b-c-c and a-a-b-b, giving an absolute solid ending to the piece. If this poem were a sculpture it would have a granite platform to stand on. And the imagery is very descriptive.
In this poem, there are a lot of examples of similes and metaphors. “But still, like dust, I’ll rise” (Line 4). “I am the dream and hope of the slave” (Line 36). There’s a defiance in the poem as you read through, as if the speaker is trying to pick at the conscience of the oppressor, by reminding them of past wrongs and present realities. The word “sassiness” presents an arrogant ego, backed up by the use of haughtiness, and sexiness. The poet’s use of hyperbole with these three nouns adds an absurd beauty.
Stanza 6 brings the oppressive issue to a focal point. Three lines begin with ‘You’, the speaker choosing particularly active verbs – shoot, cut, kill – to emphasize the aggression. Be that as it may, the oppressed will in any case rise, this time they will soar high into the air, a component which you can’t shoot, cut or kill. As Maya Angelou stated in interview conducted by the Black Scholar, ” Now, unfortunately, or rather the truth is, our history in this country has been the history of the servers and because we were forced to serve and because dignity was absolutely drained from the servant, for anyone who serves in this country, black or white, is looked upon with such revilement, they are held in such contempt while that is not true in other parts of the world.” This goes back to the main idea that the oppressed have been done wrong but in the end, they will still overcome this obstacle. Furthermore, this poem is very inspirational with powerful repetitive energy, a universal message and a clear, positive pulse throughout.
Angelou, Maya. “Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46446/still-i-rise.
Angelou, Maya. “THE BLACK SCHOLAR Interviews: MAYA ANGELOU.” The Black Scholar, vol. 8, no. 4, 1977, pp. 44–53. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41066104.
BELL, ELLA L. J. EDMONDSON, and STELLA M. NKOMO. “Armoring: Learning to Withstand Racial Oppression.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, vol. 29, no. 2, 1998, pp. 285–295. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4160356Redmond, Eugene. “The Black Scholar.” The Black Scholar, vol. 8, no. 1, 1976, pp. 50–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41066900.
SMITHERS, GREGORY D. “Challenging a Pan-African Identity: The Autobiographical Writings of Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, and Caryl Phillips.” Journal of American Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, 2011, pp. 483–502. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23016785.