The Analysis of the Poem “Still IRise”
Nowadays, African American women are obliged to overcome two obstacles at once. The first one they have to plant confidence in themselvesas a woman, then as a black woman. Let’s take the first issue. Related to our topic which is poetry, let’s ask this question whatis the difference between a poetry written by male or others written by female, the truth is that poetry written by woman is neglected. The ability of the woman is underestimated. However, many women were writing but unfortunately were socially isolated. Another aspects for neglecting the women was the lack of education. Women are placed to be a household no other thing; it was more important than education. This phenomena apparent among the African American women who were denied from their rights of education, work, freedom and other social lives, because of their gender, colour religion …..etc.
Therefore; from many women’s poets we chosen to analyse the poem of the African American woman which is Maya Angelou, she wrote the poem of “I still Rise” to show that no matter what situation you are in , you have to stand up and to keep walking and remember that there is always hope. Maya Angelo has faced rough conditions because of her colour as black woman but she was strong and brave woman. In this chapter we are going to cover the following points: Biography of Maya Angelou , the circumstances in which the poem “I still Rise ” exists, and the last point the analysis of the poem “I still Rise “.
4-2 Biography of the author
Maya Angelou is a black woman with 80 years old, a poet, a playwright, an author, in addition to that, she was an active participant in the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou lived in a harsh period of her life full of racism, segregation, discrimination, stereotype, because of her shameful history of slavery, her ancestors was slaves, they treated badly by their owners; physically and mentally.
Maya Angelou was a brave and strong black woman; she faced the white oppressors and defended her rights. Maya Angelou wrote many poems; racism, courage, self-worth, discrimination was considered as her major themes in her literary works.
At the age of 16, Maya Angelou entered to the field of literature. She wrote many successful works; she proved herself in the world of literature.
Black woman with positive attitudes, her successful poem “Still I rise “shows her powerful strength, and strong determination to overcome the difficulties. The message of her poem delivers the human’s incredible strength and potential to survive and to improve his valuable being.
Cucinella states that marguerite Ann Johnson, later known as Maya Angelou, was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Vivian Baxter, a carefree gambler, ran a boarding house, and her father, Bailey Johnson, served as a navy cook. Maya’s older brother, Bailey Johnson, Jr., always very protective of her, referred to her using the possessive form of “My” and “Mya Sister.” Thus Marguerite became Maya, meaning “mine.” Angelou’s early life, unsettling, mobile, dramatic, did not change terribly as she grew older. In 1930 Vivian and Bailey Johnson divorced, and their children shuttled back and forth between each parent as well as between grandparents, moving from Missouri to Long Beach, California to Stamps, Arkansas. In St. Louis, eight-year-old Marguerite was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend, resulting in the young victim’s inability to speak for several years. The children then lived in Arkansas with their paternal grandmother, Anne Henderson. During her years of silence, Angelou read ravenously and wrote poetry. She embraced the works of William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allan Poe and devoured Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Angelou graduated with honors from Lafayette County Training School in Arkansas in 1940, moved to San Francisco with her mother in 1941, and attended George Washington High School in California. At age fourteen, she accepted a scholarship to California Labor School in San Francisco to study drama and dance. In 1943 she moved to Los Angeles with her father but ran away and after living a month in a junkyard with other homeless children Angelou returned to her mother. In 1944 Angelou gave birth to a son, Guy Johnson, now a novelist. One year later the teenage mother graduated from Mission High School in San Francisco. Nothing Angelou did was small, ordinary, or without grand ?ourish, and this trend continued. Raising her son alone, she worked as a bordello madam and prostitutebefore settling into marriage in 1950 with Tosh Angelos (she later changed Angelos to the more exotic Angelou) (12).
Cucinellaargues that Angelou has written poetry, plays, and screenplays, a cookbook, juvenile literatureAngelou has written poetry, plays, and screenplays, a cookbook, juvenile literature, and ?ve autobiographical novels. Racism, courage, hope, sisterhood, self-worth, and sexuality compose her major themes. However, love and humanity emerge as the predominate concerns in Angelou’s work. As a child, Angelou lived under racist Jim Crow laws. Crippling segregation, and the courage to rise above it, are also prevalent themes in her novels and poetry. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she writes of several painful childhood memories involving racism, and she employs the theme of racism through the devices of memory in both her prose and poetry (14).
4-3 The Circumstances
Maya Angelou wrote this poem “Still I rise” for certain reasons. She was an active participant in the civil rights movement, she gives her voice for all the black women to defend their rights, because they were neglected by society for their colour; their history of slavery. That’s why Maya Angelou wrote the poem still I rise, because it saw that is the time for things to change; in the better way. Black women were neglected socially and politically and they were not integrated in many aspects.
Black women are the labour’s lowest hanging wages or any benefits; they cannot be a priority for any union. The opportunity to assume important positions in the union; is not a priority for the labour movement.
Black women do not have the right to make decisions in all sectors of society. Some statistics improved that the percentage of the valuable work of the black women is more than in the white women. Black women like the white women have the complete right to take position of leader, regardless of the social class; or the stage they are at in their career; or gender; colour; race……etc. Black women have the right to participate in the elections, black women wants to deliver their voices, ideas, and concerns of those labour black women.
Black women have the desire to take the position of leader not just for themselves but also for creating more balance for the issues of the black women; provides equal opportunities for all. However, the labour movement do not listen when the issue concerns the black woman, because it thinks that there is no position of leader for the black woman.