Personification In Still I Rise

Topics: Maya Angelou

Dawson 1 China Dawson Dr. Geraldine Seay ENC 1102 16 October 2012 Still I Rise In the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, Angelou uses strong words to describe how she feels. She uses words like sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness, to describe herself. She asks her enemy does her sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness upset or offends them. Angelou is speaking to her audience of oppressors about how she had overcome racism, criticism, sexism, and personal obstacles in her life with pride and grace. Angelou uses literary elements such as personification, simile, and imagery to covey the theme.

Angelou uses the literary element personification to help the reader realize how you can rise above all negative words people can say to you. In the sixth stanza in Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” she says “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise”. These are all perfect examples of personification used at its best.

You can imagine being shot, cut, killed by someone’s brutal words, stares, and hate. This scenario that Angelou presents is very powerful because it shows how she was able to stand up against mental abuse.

Still I Rise Essay

Another literary element that Angelou uses in the poem is simile. The usage of a simile in the poem, “Still I Rise” helps you create an image in your mind. As she states in the first stanza (line 3-4) “You may trod me in the dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.

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She’s saying to all her enemies that no matter what they say or do, she will rise above and remain strong. She wants Dawson 1 them to know she will stay true to herself and will change for no one. This would be a perfect example of a simile that Angelou uses in the poem because it is a mentality that everybody should posses.

No matter how hard someone tries to bring you down, you still have to keep your head held high. Imagery is also another literary element present in Maya Angelou’s poem. She uses imagery to articulate what she knows the critics are thinking and saying amongst themselves. An example would be in the seventh stanza as she states “Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise that I dance like I’ve got diamonds, at the meeting of my thighs? ” She is saying she is not secretive about it and she will do as she pleases regardless of what anyone says about her.

Even though that may not be true she says it to prove to the audience that she is happy. I thought how would one dance as if they have diamonds at the meeting of their thighs? I had to imagine her actually having expensive diamonds between her legs, I suppose she would want everyone to see them, so she would dance in a sexy and provocative way so that her diamonds can be seen. Personification, simile, and imagery are the three literary elements Maya Angelou uses in “Still I Rise” because of how they work together to not only create the totality of what Angelou is trying to express.

The overall theme of this poem is her past and how she still got back up when people put her down about her color. I actually like this poem because it emphasizes the importance of strength with one’s self. Maya Angelou wrote many of the greatest poems about resilience, change, self-respect, society, and life. She lets you know how things are in the world. Telling to be free in who you are; fight for what you are. Through her amazing use of literary devices, she has created some of the best symbolic poems there is. Dawson 1

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Personification In Still I Rise
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