Cucinella argues 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.
The labour movement underestimate the black women, their hard work is exploited and unrecognized. Maya Angelou portrayed the valuable being and the great ability of the black woman, and what she able to do.
Maya Angelou in her poem ” Still I rise ” focused on themes of racism, discrimination to give the light on the black woman because she was racist and there is no justice for her. The production of the poem still I riseexists during one of the most successful periods of Maya Angelou’s career.
4.4 The analysis of the poem “Still I Rise ”
The poem of Maya Angelou is broken into nine stanzas, each stanza gives her own meaning. But the all stanzas are related to each other because, the all nine stanzas speaks about the message of the poem and what Maya Angelou wants to send to the readers. Maya Angelou in her poem Still I Rise tries to send to the society that no matter the circumstances, no matter what you will do, I will rise, I will be strong.
Maya Angelou ‘spoemaddresses the white oppressors, the racist people, people who underestimate the black woman because of her shame history of slavery. But Maya Angelou claims that our past will not affect our future and we will not live in fear and terror because of our history, she will rise until the end and she will stand up in the face of pain and in the face of the oppressors. Maya Angelou repeated ” I rise ” many times in the poem, this is a prove that no matter the situation, she will make her dreams come true , and she will be what she wants to be.
In this stanza, Maya Angelou gives of her heart and soul to declare that nothing and no one could oppress her or keep her down. She doesn’t care what the history books saw, for she knows they are full of “twisted lies”. She will not let it bother her that others “trod” her “in the very dirt”. She proclaims that if she is trodden in the dirt, that she will rise like dust (” Still I Rise”).
In the second stanza, she asks a question. This is an interesting question, as she refers to her own tone as “sassiness” and asks the hearer if her sassy tone is upsetting. She notices that the people around her in her society are “beset with gloom” when she succeeds. She questions this. She knows that she is succeeded in life, in her writing, and as a woman. The “oil wells pumping in her living room” symbolize her success (“Still I Rise”).
In this stanza, she compares herself to the moon and the suns as they are affected by the tides. This gives the reader the understanding that the speaker has no other choice but to rise up out of her affliction. Try as society might to keep her oppressed, it is in her nature to rise up and stand against oppression just as it is the nature of the tides to respond to the moon (” Still I Rise”).
The speakers’ questions in this stanza are direct, pertinent, and appropriately accusing. She knows that her own success is received with bitterness by the racist people in her society. So she directs these questions at the society that has long tried to keep her oppressed. She asks them if they want to see her broken, oppressed, depressed and bitter. She asks these questions know that this indeed is what many in society wanted. They did not want to see a black woman rise up out of the oppression of her society and succeed. The speaker knows this and she draws attention to it with this revealing, yet cutting questions (“Still I Rise”).
She continues with the questions directed at a racist society when she asks whether her “haughtiness” is offensive. She knows that society resents seeing a black woman full of pride. This question has an air of sarcasm which serves to point out the hypocrisy of society as it is embittered by the success of one that it has tried to oppress. The speaker continues is a sarcastic tone as she pretends to comfort the hearer. She says, “don’t you take it awful hard”. This is her sarcastic way of pretending to care for those who resent her success. She continues, however, to in a sense “flaunt” her success before the society that has always oppressed her. She claims that she has “gold mines” and that she laughs at the success she has found (” Still I Rise”).