Literary Analysis of Maya Angelou’s poem `Africa`
In the poem Africa, Maya Angelou describes the continent of Africa getting destroyed by the Europeans who has taken their children for slavery. She has described Africa as a black woman who has been exploited for ages for what she is. This has been rightly expressed in the lines “She does this when she writes “…mountains her breast two Niles her tears” (“Africa” under study). It has also been stated that “The continent of Africa is personified to create vivid images and the rhythmical patterns contribute to the changing tone from pleasant to unpleasant to contemplative.” (An essay analyzing Maya Angelou’s poem “Africa”)
The poet is deeply hurt by the fact that English people came into their land by the sea and sold their men as slaves in other countries as they refused to worship the God as described by the English version. These words are expressed in the lines “churched her with Jesus bled her with guns”.
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By expressing the words that “now she is rising”, the poet is trying to say that in spite of all the wrong doings done to that country, Africa is growing stronger instead of laying down and in the process, it still remembers its losses and tragedies. (“Africa” under study) The line “now she is striding although she had lain” expresses that in the early stages she was too weak, but now “she has gained strength of her own injustices.” (“Africa” under study)
Maya Angelou through the poem has tried to describe Africa as a black woman who is torn apart by her past, but still remains strong and confident while moving ahead towards the future. “Angelou encourages the audience to react sympathetically to the great and almighty continent of Africa through out this poem.” (“Africa” under study).
1) “Africa” Under Study; July 28, 2005 in the website of echeat.com: 5th April, 2009 from <http://www.echeat.com/essay.php?t=27420>
2) Title: An essay analyzing Maya Angelou’s poem “Africa” using personification and rhythms; 18th February, 2004 in the website of cheathouse.com: 5th April, 2009 from <http://www.cheathouse.com/essay/essay_view.php?p_essay_id=30402>