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Essay: Poem essay: 'Still I'll Rise'

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 15 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 483 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 2 (approx)

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Discuss the use of natural phenomena and poetic devices in the poem. How does this contribute to the message of the poem?
The use of natural phenomena is used vastly throughout this poem. For instance in the poem Maya Angelou sneakily hints the relationship she had between the earth and the history she has had as an African American’s whose back-round which wasn’t so pleasant. Another instance is how the speaker shows how a body decomposes into dust. She emphasises the dust representing dirt and therefore being easy to be swept away into the air as nothing ever happened. She is saying that the way people were treated then, they could decompose into the ground representing earth just like soil and dust. This is seen as an escape for not being appreciated as a human being.
Throughout this poem Maya Angelou uses many poetic devices. One instance for the usage of a poetic device is the use of simile, for instance, where Maya Angelou says ‘Shoulders falling down like teardrops’. Here the speaker is comparing how ones shoulders drop as they lose self-confidence, just like the way in which tears fall down ones face when one is crying because one is hurt or upset.
The use of metaphors is also used. For instance, ‘I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide’. Here she sees herself as the same as a black ocean that is leaping and wide. This could be describing her own life that is filled with cruelty and unexpected events. It could also be referring to her own race to let the readers know that the poem is about racism.
Imagery is also a very frequently used poetic device throughout the poem. Maya Angelou uses imagery that is conveyed through metaphors and similes. For instance where Maya Angelou says ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells pumping in my living room’, ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines diggin’ in my own back yard’. There is also a repeating image of dust and air rising. She gives us images of these events happening in her life to give emphasis on the power certain events may have on a person.
She also uses repetition by repeating the phrases ‘Still I’ll rise’ And ‘I rise’. By repeating these words, it makes the poem ever so more powerful.
All these poetic devices and the use of natural phenomena make the message Maya Angelou is trying to portray stand out and it also adds a lot of emphasis on this message. It also shows the reader that the speaker is overcoming the challenges she is facing. The message she is putting across is about defeating oppression with poise and dignity and showing no compassion towards the oppressors. It shows that when facing difficult times that one may go through, one is able to stand strong and be brave.

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