Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study


Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study


Maya Angelou's Poem 'Still I Rise' An Analytical Study

Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study

Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study

The poem entitled ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou is a poem on the theme of racism through which the poet expresses her reaction and revolutionary voice against the white oppressors of the black Negors living in the USA.

In the poem ‘Still, I Rise’  the poetess gives no account of how she was oppressed but she depicts how bold, determined, strong, outright and defiant she becomes to establish the rights of the oppressed Negros. Her bitter personal experience of racism made her mentally strong and obstinate so she used such phrases like ‘I’ve got oil wells, ‘I’ve got gold mines’, and I’ve got diamonds’. By using all these phrases the poet wants to warn the oppressors that she is no longer weak and lenient like her predecessors but a source of strength and energy for all the oppressed and hence she thinks herself to be important and valuable like gold and diamond. She is ready to liberate herself along with her black fellow men from the yoke of the whites.

The poetess uses some similes in the poem  ‘Still I Rise’ and compares herself to the moon, sun and other natural phenomena like the ocean, tide etc. All these images are invoked to present herself as strong and energetic like them. Literary, natural objects like sun, moon, ocean etc. symbolize vigour and energy. It is thought that they are unparallel in spirit and power. These images appropriately hold good to Maya Angelou because she, as a writer, was a bold and extraordinary one who expressed her feeling and views fearlessly defying the white oppressors.

In the last stanza of the poem, ‘Still, I Rise’ the poet tells that she has taken birth out of the age-long lineage of the oppressed. Their history is full of suppression and shame. The whites migrated from other parts of the world to America and established their supremacy by tricks and cunning. The history of the oppressed is deep-rooted in pain. Her predecessors were not bold enough to throw away the supremacy of the white. But the poet is an exceptional one. She has risen up from their past history being arrayed with the armour of strength and challenge and ready to fight the whites.

The above analysis of the poem shows that it is a poem of revolt against the age-long evils of racism. The poem bears the energy from within and the use of rhythm, repetition, simile, symbols etc. have contributed much to this impression of energy.

First, there are two courses of rhythm and repetition in the poem as: ‘Still, I’ll rise’ which is used from the first to the seventh stanzas of the poem. The repetition of the same phrase represents the poet with some extraordinary energy and determination. It asserts the poet’s self-assertiveness and commitment to establishing the rights of the Negros.

The rhythm of the poem seems to change at the eighth stanza where the lines are short. In this stanza, the poet uses the phrase ‘I rise’ frequently. This change of rhythm adds more vigour and force to the poet’s determination and self assertation.

The poet has invoked the following similes to contribute to this impression: 

‘Just like moons and like suns

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high.

Still, I’ll rise.’

Again the poet uses the simile ‘shoulders falling down like teardrops’  and a metaphor like ‘I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide’ also contribute to this impression of energy. 

Thus the poet has employed the device of rhythm, repetition, simile, symbols etc. that contribute much force and energy to the tone and purport of the poem.  0 0 0.

Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study 

Read More: E De Sauza’s Poem ‘Marriages are Made’: An Analytical Study

N. B. This article entitled ‘Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Poetry Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Maya Angelou | Still I Rise | An Analytical Study

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period

Related Searches:

Previous articleWole Soyinka | Telephone Conversation | An Analytical Study
Next articleShakespeare | Sonnet No 151 | Critical Study
I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here