Still I Rise: Analysis Of The Meaning, Setting And Literary Devices

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Wanting to rise above the agony; Still I Rise is Maya Angelou’s experience with rising above society’s torment. Words like “Shoot me with your words”, “Cut me with your eyes” and “Kill me with your hatefulness” all describe the pain society tried to put on Maya. Metaphors, similes, irony, alliteration and assonance are all used throughout the poem. The poem begins in A-B-C-B meter but the last two stanzas the poem becomes A-B-A-B. Explaining the meaning, setting and literary devices of the poem to get an understanding of the poem.

Still I Rise is about the speaker, Maya Angelou, experience as a woman and how she was treated by society. The poem exhibits a conflict between her and how women are treated in society. Maya explains how society wanted her to react to their cruelness, “Bowed head and lowered eyes”, “Shoulders falling down like teardrops”, “Weakened by my soulful cries”. But even though she was treated poorly she exuded confidence, “sassiness” and “sexiness”. Throughout the poem Maya ask questions like “Did you want to see me broken?”.

To go more in depth, Maya Angelou likes to write about political and social subjects. For her poem “Still I Rise” Maya writes about the history of African Americans and how she faced the inhumane actions that took place. “Out of the huts of history’s shame” insinuates slavery. The speaker’s audience appears to be everyone who is reading the poem. The poem begins with a A-B-C-B meter, lies and rise rhyme making that B while A and C don’t have any rhymes in the first stanza. The poem takes place in 1978. Throughout the poem Maya is upset or angry but she also knows she is brave.

Simile, metaphor, repetition, alliteration, assonance and irony as some of the literary devices used. The reputation of the S and H are examples of alliteration, “Does my sassiness upset you” and “Huts of history’s shame”. Maya also uses some similes to compare how she’ll rise from the obstacles: “like air, I’ll rise” and “like dust, I’ll rise”. Maya also uses similes to compare her strength and courage; “like moons and like suns” and “I laugh like I’ve got gold mines”. The irony is that society wanted Maya to breakdown but through it all she became stronger and wanted to show everyone that they were not going to get the best of her, “I’ll rise”. Many metaphors were used to describe the pain they brought her: “cut me with your eyes”, “shoot me with your words”, “kill me with your hatefulness”. “I’ll rise” is a constant repetition throughout the poem.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou writes poems about political and social problems for example she describes her experience with society, using metaphors and similes to compare how she rose above the torment. She was constantly being brought down but the irony of it all was despite their viciousness she showed courage. The poem has a A-B-C-B meter some of the rhymes were “gave” and “slave”, “wide” and “tide”, and “shame” and “pain”. The poem expresses how society wanted het to fail along with how she wasn’t affected by society. Maya is angry but is well aware of her strength.


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