However in the third stanza she reverts to the present and begins with “but” which acts as a drive word in that it changes the mood of the poem even though the pace remains the same. The list like form to the poem now reverts to a complaint opposed to a positive proposal for the future. The word “we” suggests a collective term for everyone and for shared responsibility showing that whilst young it is essential to keep up appearances and to carry out your responsibilities to society which she is unhappy about.
However in the last stanza she says ” but maybe I ought to practise now” this yet again changes the tone to the poem and also the pace, she is now thoughtful as the rebellious mischievous tone returns and she considers breaking the rules of society right now. This ends the poem positively with the sense of hope and excitement. On ageing my maya angelou also looks at the process of ageing.
However in her poem she doesn’t look at old age as a change instead she makes the point that the person behind the ageing exterior is still the same person they always were, she is making the point that she does not want people to treat her differently now she is older because she is still the same person she always was- she doesn’t want people to pity her. She shows this when she says “hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! / Hold! Stop your sympathy” the use of punctuation and repetition gives these lines a tone of anger and upset.
The exclamation marks make it sound like she is shouting at the reader.
Giving the impression that this what she wants to say to people who treat her with sympathy / treat her differently because she is elderly. Whilst joseph promotes age as a positive thing Angelou has a very negative defensive tone to her poem. The images she depicts are not humorous and light hearted as they are in joseph’s poem but are that of pain and weakness. “When you see me walking, stumbling, .. ” When thinking of someone stumbling the image would be of someone weak and helpless or someone who has lost control of their body e. g. someone who is drunk.
This hints at the idea of the persons mind being less capable and this deterioration in someone’s body and mind would result in them needing to be looked after and the poet doesn’t want people thinking this about her. “don’t study and get it wrong”. She doesn’t want people to study her external features such as a stumbling walk and come to the wrong conclusion that her spirit and mind are also “stumbling” because they are not. She wants people to know that just because age has taken a toll on her body her spirit is still as strong as always.