Maya Angelou: Still I Rise
Like Dust Rising to become a college professor, dancer, activist, and movie star, Maya Angelou has overcome much in her life. From being raped by a family member at a very young age that made her speechless for years (Burns 1) and having to deal with the responsibilities of being a mother in her teens (Burns 1),Maya Angelou has risen. She was a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. movement serving as the coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Burns 1). Maya Angelou has risen from the racism, discrimination, sexism and pure hate that comes along with being a black woman in the late 1900’s (poets. rg 1). Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” can be paralleled to her life experience of rape, sexism, criticism, and personal obstacles. Maya Angelou realized that even though all the discrimination and hate she experienced the people who were pushing her down were still creations of God and must be respected as such. “While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation(brainyquote. com 1). ” This quote shows a lot about Dr.
Angelou’s character and that when she rose and overcame she did it in a way that was not disrespectful towards others because they are still children of God. Still I Rise makes the reader realize the importance of pride and hope in ourselves(eliteskills. com 1). Angelou uses different literary techniques like imagery and repetition to emphasize and create an image (eliteskills. com 1). “Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes rising high, still I’ll rise (poets. org 1).
The word “you” in the poem refers to racist white people and “I” not only represents Dr. Angelou but all black people who are discriminated against (poets. org 1). Comparing herself to a black ocean, bearing the hate of the cruel world around her but emphasizing that she is staying strong,” I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, welling and swelling I bear in the tide” (eliteskills. com 1). Dr. Angelou is saying that she takes on the burden and challenge of her oppressors but in a way that creates imagery for the reader.
An important symbol in this poem is dust rising, “You may write me down in history, with your bitter, twisted lies, you may trod me in the very dirt but still like dust I rise,” in order for dust to rise it must be unsettled, Angelo’s oppressors are the ground that she is rising above. Still I Rise has a strong and positive tone throughout the entire poem (eliteskills. com 1). Even though this quote is from/for another poem it also applies to “Still I Rise” because she is sharing her story and how she rose and overcame much in her life. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. (brainyquotes. com 1). Maya Angelou believed every person has a story that should be shared with world.
The poem “Still I Rise” has many different strong messages that empowered the people that experienced the hate and racism of others, but not only does it talk about the racism going on in the 1950’s & 60’s but also about slavery. “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,” shows the importance of appreciation in those previous generations, all the work that our ancestor slaves experienced is not in vain and empower us even more today (eliteskills. om 1). “I am the dream and the hope of the slave. ” Dr. Angelou has accomplished the dream of many who were enslaved, to overcome the hate and discrimination with grace and power.
One person speaking out will make a difference and have the potential to help others. “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air I rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise that I dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs? poets. org 1)” Still I Rise shows the pride Dr. Angelou has about being an African- American and how every African- American should too (poets. org 1). Imagine growing up in an era of hate, discrimination, racism, sexism, criticism, where everywhere you went you were treated completely different, like an animal, just because of the color of your skin. In addition, being raped as a young child by a family member (Umanoff 1). Maya Angelou has risen and overcome much in her life as seen in her poem.
Still I Rise is all about overcoming oppression with pride and grace with no sympathy for oppressors (poets. org 1). Angelou is relating values in her poem to herself. She is saying she is worth just as much as everyone else and should be treated with the same respect (eliteskills. com 1). At some point in life everyone experiences a form of discrimination and we all must rise from it (eliteskills. com 1). “Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise, up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise. ”(poets. org 1). Still I Rise” shows the pain and suffering many African Americans had to endure and how they have overcome. The poem shows the struggle for respect and equality and how they had to endure and rise for their rights. Works Cited www. brainyquote. com. 2001. Web. 29 January 2013. Burns, Connie. www. rockhall. com. 2011. Web. 28 January 2013. www. eliteskills. com. 2010. Web. 28 January 2013. “Global Renaissance Women. ” mayaangelou. com. Penguin Creative. 2013. Web. 18 January 2013. “Still I Rise. ” www. poets. org. 2013. Web. 16 January 2013.