Maya Angelou’s Use Of Poetic Techniques In Still I Rise

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The poem “Still I Rise”, was written by an African American poet Maya Angelou. She wrote this poem to show that not only the struggle that she went through but the positive attitude that the author gained, against racial and gender discrimination. This poem reflects her determination on how she faced the haters. She narrates how people judged and doubted her, but also displays a highly positive attitude even after the criticism that the author faced. In addition, the author made sure to say that no matter what people say or do to her to keep her down, she will forever continue to rise up. This poem is an inspiration and a motivation, not only to the author itself but to millions of African American women and girls everywhere.

The poem carries a lot of different unique poetic techniques, such as repetition, rhyme scheme, imagery, metaphors, similes, alliteration, allusion, personification, hyperbole, and rhetorical questions, to show its theme of For example, the author mostly used similes to show comparisons of herself. In the first stanza of the poem, it says that “You may tread me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I’ll rise”. These lines are considered similes because the author is comparing herself rising and gaining confidence, to dust rising after crushing dirt. Another example of a simile is from the second stanza of the poem, “’ Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells/Pumping in my living room”. The author is comparing her walk, to a wealthy person’s walk, as if she was rich herself. In addition to similes, in the third stanza of the poem, it says, “Just like moons and like suns…”. The author makes a comparison of how the moon, sun, tides, and hopes never fail to rise, and of how she will rise and never lose hope. Also in this poem, in the fourth stanza, it says that “Shoulders falling down like teardrops…”. This line compares the author’s shoulders falling down, to teardrops falling down one’s face. This line also shows the amount of pain that she had gone through. Furthermore, with the similar examples of this poem, in the fifth stanza, it says that “’ Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines/Diggin’ in my own backyard”. The author compared her laugh, to a rich person who laughs with confidence and a sense of pride. Lastly, with similar examples, in the sixth stanza, it says, “But still, like air, I’ll rise”. This line is comparing the author rising, to the air rising.

Another example of using different poetic techniques in this poem is that, in the eighth stanza, it says that, “I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, /Welling and These lines are considered a metaphor because the author is comparing herself, having to deal with any discrimination that aimed towards her, to an ocean that bears in the tide. These lines convey a message in a metaphorical sense of the hatred and cruelty of others. Also, in a sixth of the poem, it says that “You may shoot me with your words, /You may cut me with your eyes, /You may kill These lines are used as an illustration of hyperbole because the author uses strong negative wording to exaggerate the feeling of discrimination. In addition to poetic techniques, in the ninth stanza of this poem, it says, “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear…”. This line is considered an allusion because the author was referring to leaving behind the struggles that African Americans had faced as slaves; being treated like animals, and not Also in the ninth stanza, it says that “Into daybreak, that’s wondrously clear…”. This line is considered imagery because it created an image of a sunrise with a clear sky. Another example of imagery in this poem, is in the fourth stanza, “Bowed head and lowered eyes? This line creates an image of a person who is slouched over and looking at the ground. Moreover, with poetic techniques, in the second, fifth, and seventh stanza of the poem, they ask, “Does my sassiness upset you? These lines are considered rhetorical questions, because the author is asking to the oppressors, which are the White people, if she, as an African American, was offending them by her haughtiness, sassiness, and sexiness, which were usually not the characteristics of African Americans, at that time period. Throughout the entire poem, there is also a poetic technique of repetition, of the words “I rise”. This repetition creates the hope that the author has, even after all the negativity and the struggle that she went through. These poetic techniques are effective in this poem because they help describe the author’s feelings about slavery and Black women empowerment.

In conclusion, the poem “Still I Rise” is an inspirational poem that encourages African Americans everywhere, to overcome discrimination and hatred that was placed upon by the typical stereotypes of society. Even though Angelou had felt exploited and diminished at times, she learned that it should not get in the way of living her own life of happiest and fullest. Angelou was very proud of her identity and would be open to challenge anyone who wants to take it away from her. Before, there was a time where not everybody has the right to life, liberty, equality, and life. That is why this poem “Still I Rise”, encourages not only for herself but for millions of African Americans, in general, to fight for these rights and stand up for what they believe in.  


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