Analysis of Poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Topics: Maya Angelou

The poem Still I Rise is by Maya Angelou; an African American poet, an educator, who is also a female right activist wrote in 1978 during the civil rights movement. Angelou uses diction, repetitions, metaphors, similes, rhetorical questions, and different use of tone to express to her audience about how she overcome the discrimination and racism in her life, inference to hope and overcoming all with her self-esteem. The poem denigrates the society norm while motivates other African Americans just like her, demonstrating a proud, strong and defiant attitude to inspire others.

In stanza 1, “You may trod me in the very dirt” “But still, like dust I’ll rise” this line uses simile to compare herself as dust, reflects one of the key theme of the poem. No matter how injustice and unfair the society is, no matter how cruel and horrible others are treating her, she will not be taken down but instead to “rise”. We normally think people that get thrown on to dirt as the victim that is being bullied.

Angelou implies that she is getting bullied and put down by the social injustice, which was the social norm back in the late 70s for African American women. Examples of Angelou using imagery to explicit herself can be find in stanzas 2; when she uses metaphor in “Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells”. Usually we oil wells are often known in expensive and precious things, just like other metaphors in the poem referring to “diamonds” “gold mines”.

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Angelou is hinting that she is just as valuable as all of us, therefore same amount of attention and love should be given to her. Metaphors like this continues throughout the poem to create the vivid image which gives reader a better understanding.

Angelou also uses the repetition “You may” in this stanzas to suggests the multiple obstacles that she faces in life, but still she will rise and will not be defeated and will stand up again. The rhetorical question asked in this poem in stanzas 2, 4, 5, and 7. By questioning the reader “you” using second person in the poem captures the reader’s attention and affectively pass on her point, because it makes reader realizes there are a lot of people made the person “I” feel that way, and that Angelou is not the only victim. The rhetorical questions used in the poem helps evaluate the poem to a personal level from the reader’s perspective. Repetition in the phrase “I’ll rise” keeps echoing in the poem, this is effective vilify the poem to focus on the point that wanted to be made and pass on as the message. Repetition stands out the and emphasizes the message while making it much more powerful, which is to stay strong and never give up yourself because of what others say.

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Analysis of Poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. (2021, Dec 08). Retrieved from

Analysis of Poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
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