Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (2023)

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (1)

Maya Angelou is one of the most important literary figures in 20th century American history.. His poetry often appears on high school English course reading lists and may even appear on the AP Literature exam.

In this article, we give you a thorough introduction to Angelou and her captivating poetry, so you can analyze it all for yourself. To do this,We will guide you through an in-depth analysis of one of Angelou's most famous poems, Still I Rise.

To help you understand what Angelou's poem "Still I Rise" is about, in this article we will cover:

  • A Brief Introduction to the Poet Maya Angelou
  • Background of poem "Still I Rise".
  • The Comprehensive Meaning of "Still I Rise"
  • The three main themes of the poem
  • The two supreme poetic devices in the poem

Are you ready to dive in Let's go!

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (2)

Maya Angelou was born in 2008 at Wake Forest University. (Kingofthedead/Wikimedia Commons)

Meet the poet Maya Angelou

To fully understand the meaning of a poem,It is important to first look at the life of the poet who wrote it.Why? Because poets sometimes refer to their own life experiences, relationships and personal identities in their works. In this case, we will look at the life of Maya Angelou, the poet who wrote the poem "Still I Rise".

Maya Angelou, first name Marguerite Annie Johnson, was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri.His father, Bailey Johnson, was a Navy security and nutritionist, and his mother, Vivian Johnson, a registered nurse and card dealer.

Growing up, Angelou's personal life was chaotic and emotionally draining at times.Angelou's parents divorced when she was three and her personal life began to falter. In the years that followed, Angelou and her brother were moved from place to place, including at their grandmother's home in Stamps, Arkansas.

After returning to St. Louis at the age of eight, Angelou was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend, Freeman. Angelou told her brother, who told the rest of the family, and Freeman was arrested and charged. He was only held in prison for one day, but he was murdered shortly after his release. Some scholars believe that Angelou's uncles were responsible and sought revenge for what Freeman did to Angelou.

After Freeman's murder, Angelou returned to her grandmother in Arkansas and spent five years virtually mute.It wasn't until a teacher and family friend, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, became interested in Angelou that she found her voice again.

Flowers introduced Angelou to authors such as William Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as black artists such asFrances HarpereJessie Fauset. Years later, Angelou claimed that she could no longer speak, believing that her voice killed Freeman. She felt Freeman's murder was proof that her words had the power to kill. Despite that,It was during this difficult period in his life that Angelou's interest in poetry and writing began to take hold.During this time, she also graduated from high school and gave birth to her son Clyde at the age of seventeen.

Angelou married her first husband Enistasious Tosh Angelou in 1951. It was during this time that she began to take art more seriously.After their marriage ended in 1954, Angelou began dancing professionally in San Francisco clubs. Her managers at Purple Onion, a nightclub, suggested that she officially adopt the name "Maya Angelou", which she did.

In 1959, Angelou moved to New York City to focus on her writing career.she joineddie Harlem Writers Guild, where he met several other African-American authors and began publishing their work. In 1960, she met civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. after listening to him speak,Angelou started volunteering to support themSouthern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)and position yourself as a political activist.

Angelou's writing career began when she and her son moved abroad in 1962. She worked as an editor at a newspaper in Cairo, Egypt and has also written for several publications in Ghana. Angelou also met and began working with human rights activists.Malcom Xduring his years in Africa. When she returned to the United States in 1964, Angelou Malcolm X helped establish the Organization of African American Unity. The organization disbanded when Malcolm X was assassinated the following year.

Angelou has come to write more intensely over the years after traveling extensively, witnessing the need for human and civil rights, and coming to terms with the assassination of fellow campaigners and friends Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.The 1970s saw Angelou's most prolific writing period,Write articles, short stories, TV scripts, documentaries, autobiographies and poetry.

Angelou's most famous work is probably his autobiography.I know why the bird in the cage sings,published in 1969. But Angelou's poetry is also highly acclaimed. Both her autobiography and poetry explore the complexities of her childhood in Missouri and Arkansas, racial discrimination, sexual assault, and womanhood.These works also emphasize the power of storytelling and the spoken word.– two themes that are also rooted in his childhood experiences.

Angelou continued to write, teach, speak and read poetry and participate in political campaigns until her death on May 28, 2014. She even directed a feature film!Angelou was a prolific artist whose work evokes powerful images of what it was like to be a Black child, a Black woman, and a Black artist in 20th-century America.

Want to hear Maya Angelou recite "Still I Rise" herself? Just click on the video above!

The poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

"Still I Rise" was originally published in the 1978 collection of poems,And I still get upby Maya Angelou. Still I Rise is the book's title poem and plays a crucial role in developing the collection's key themes. This is alsoone of the best known and most read poems in this collection by Maya Angelou.

Before we can delve into the meaning of "Still I Rise", we actually have to.lerthe poem.Check out the full lyrics to Still I Rise below.

"Still I Rise" de Maya Angelou

You can put me in history
With your bitter and twisted lies
You can kick me in the dirt
But I will still rise like dust.

Do you mind my cheek?
Why are you tormented by darkness?
'Cause I walk like I got oil wells
bombs in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns
With the certainty of the tides
As hopes rise
I will get up anyway.

you want to see me broken
Head down and eyes down?
Shoulders drop like tears
Weakened by my soulful screams?

Does my pride offend you?
Don't take it too seriously
Because I laugh like I have gold mines
Dig in my own backyard.

You can shoot me with your words
You can cut me with your eyes
You can kill me with your hate
But I will still rise like air.

Does my sexuality bother you?
Does it come as a surprise?
I dance like I have diamonds
Where my thighs meet?

Get out of history's huts of shame
I get up
From a past rooted in pain
I get up
I am a black ocean, bouncy and wide
I carry waves and ripples on the tide.

Leave the nights of terror and fear behind
I get up
On a dawn that's wonderfully clear
I get up
Bring the gifts my ancestors gave
I am the slave's dream and hope.
I get up
I get up
I get up.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (3)

Still I Rise was written to address the discrimination black people face due to systemic racism in the United States.

The background behind the poem "Still I Rise".

One way to discern a poem's meaning and themes is to look at its background, including experiences in the poet's life and broader historical events that may have influenced the poet.Still I Rise was written to portray black resilience in response to racial discrimination and injustice.

Still I Rise was written in the 1970s when Angelou was involved in civil and human rights movements, politically active and traveling to Africa. These experiences likely gave Angelou an intimate look at many forms of discrimination around the world.

Angelou also met and worked with some of the most inspiring leaders of the human and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. This means that while Angelou witnessed injustice, she was also able to see the united spirit of black resistance in action.These experiences of racism and resistance influenced Angelou's writing in the 1970s and shaped the themes of many of her poems, including Still I Rise.

In addition to these influences, Angelou also had a traumatizing childhood that included her own personal experiences of racial discrimination and sexual abuse.For Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise" and other poems are an outlet for processing this personal pain and finding ways to move past the wounds.inflicted on individuals and society.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (4)

Now it's time to do a little research and find out what Maya Angelou's poem is really about!

"Still I Rise": meaning and themes

Now let's go into more detail.the meaning of "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.Go ahead and read the poem again to keep it fresh in your mind as we discuss the meaning and themes of the Still I Rise poem.

Meaning of the poem "Still I Rise".

The core meaning of "Still I Rise" can be summarized as follows:Despite America's violent and discriminatory treatment of black people, black resilience is an unstoppable forceand a glimmer of hope.

The title of the poem, "Still I Rise", suggests that the speaker of the poem is risingtrotzorin response tochallenging circumstances. As the poem developsWe learn that the speaker stands up in response to American society's hatred and oppression of black people.

The narrator of the poem is Black, which we learn from these two lines of the last stanza:

Bring the gifts my ancestors gave
I am the slave's dream and hope.

The speaker's reference to slavery and ancestry places her in a very specific cultural and racial role as a black person.

Furthermore, we see this blackness standing up against hatred, discrimination and oppression throughout the poem. For example, in the second stanza, the speaker of the poem asks the reader:

Do you mind my cheek?
Why are you tormented by darkness?
'Cause I walk like I got oil wells
bombs in my living room.

The fourth and fifth stanzas also pose questions and ask the reader:

you want to see me broken
Head down and eyes down?
Shoulders drop like tears
Weakened by my soulful screams?

Does my pride offend you?
Don't take it too seriously
Because I laugh like I have gold mines
Dig in my own backyard.

Angelou opens each of these verses with questionsas she proclaims to all who participated in the oppression of blacks.She demands an explanation for her hatred, and each question identifies a specific instance or type of abuse. On behalf of blacks who have suffered discrimination, the speaker questions why blacks are treated with violence and contempt.

This becomes clear as the poem progresses.those who hate blacks dowellthe strength, beauty and resilience of black people...although the black community remains oppressed. We see this inparableswho liken the dark spirit to resources that are an endless source of wealth, such as "oil wells/pumps in [the speaker's] living room" and "gold mines/digging in [their] own backyard". Through these comparisons, Angelou asks the reader to reflect on why it is black people's enduring hope, joy, and strength that drives others to tear them down.

While the strength and beauty of the black feed hatred and intolerance,Angelou also portrays these qualities as the ultimate source of dark strength to continually rise up.The speaker argues that black people refuse to give up in the face of racism and oppression in society. Instead, they respond with remarkable force.

Now let's take a look at the three main themes that define Angelou's poem:the relationship between personal and collective experience, the irrationality of racial hatred, and the enduring nature of black resilience.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (5)

Angelou not only talks about how black people collectively experience racism, but also invites readers to examine their role in perpetuating racism.

Theme 1: The relationship between personal and collective experience

The first topic we will discuss, important for understanding Maya Angelou's Still I Rise, is the relationship between personal and collective experience.

first there istwo main characters in "Still I Rise": the poem's black speaker and the person they ask their questions to (the "you"/the addressee).

Let's look at the recipient of the poem. During "Still I Rise", the speaker of the poem addresses an unknown "you". At first glance, it might seem that this "you" could be anyone, but the deeper we delve into the poem, the clearer it becomes.Angelou goes to a certainTypePerson: anyone who despises or hurts black people because of their racial identity.

Therefore, although it appears that the speaker is addressing an individual when he says "you", he is actually referring to a group of like-minded people: all individuals who participate in racial discrimination. When you read "you" in the poem,That iswho should I keep in mind. In this way, Angelou aims at a collective experience of racism and racist behavior as the main theme of her poem.

But we can also break down the identity of the poem's "you" a little more.We can also read Angelou's use of "you" as his way of askingallReaders must look within themselves to see if they, too, are complicit in racism.

In other words, Angelou might ask us to examine ourselves for hidden biases: Are we experiencing any of the negative feelings toward black people that the "you" in the poem feels? And if we do, do we want to be included in this hateful "you"? By approaching the reader as a potential part of that "you", Angelou gives us the opportunity to reflect on our internalized biases and reject harmful biases that we may not realize we harbor.

In this way, Angelou creates a strong connection between collective action and our individual responsibility. It's easy to label a group of people "racist", but we must remember that this group is made up of individuals. More importantly, "Still I Rise" argues thatIt is our responsibility to ensure that our own individual ideas, beliefs and actions do not feed into any system.that harms others.

The poem's narrator also shows the relationship between our individual selves and collective experiences.Throughout the poem, the speaker refers to himself in the first person, often using "I" and "mine" to refer to his experiences of racial discrimination.

But in the first and last stanzas of the poem, Angelou's narrator points out that his experiences are common and shared by black people.The speaker does this by pointing to history's role in documenting both the oppression of blacks and their response to that oppression.

Throughout the poem, the speaker's individual experiences connect with the collective experiences of black people. If the speaker "stands up" from each individual attempt to break or crush him, black people as a whole do. This is made clear in the following stanza:

Leave the nights of terror and fear behind
I get up
On a dawn that's wonderfully clear
I get up
Bring the gifts my ancestors gave
I am the slave's dream and hope.
I get up
I get up
I get up.

In this last stanza of the poem, the speaker reveals that his resilience and that of his people stem from a shared and lasting collective experience.When the speaker speaks of "the gifts of my ancestors," he is speaking of how the strength of blacks in the past sustains the black community in the present.This is the historical narrative that truly defines who she is - not the bitter, twisted lies of her oppressors.

so in this caseThe speaker's individual decision to take a stand in the face of discrimination contributes to that of blackscollective experiencein the face of racism. And, most importantly, your individual actions will also help future generations grow even more.

Theme 2: The irrationality of racism

Another major theme that Angelou portrays in "Still I Rise" is the irrationality of racism. Angelou conveys this theme through rhetorical questions that show that the reasons people give for hating black people are trivial.

The "you" addressed by the speaker in the poem is portrayed as angry and offended because the speaker is brash, hopeful, arrogant, and sexy.Those seem like weird things to hate on someone, right? And you certainly wouldn'tsuppresssomeone just because they exhibit these qualities!

That isExactlyAngelou's point in this poem.It shows that black people's hatred and fear are irrational.The "bitter and twisted lies" that defined America's understanding of black people from the earliest days of the country's existence made no sense at the time, and Still I Rise argues that they make no sense today. The poem reiterates that lies that portray black people as dangerous or "less than" others are baseless and untrue.

Instead, the speaker rewrites the history of who they are to stand up against the hateful "you".they address in the poem.By revealing the truth about who she is - sassy, ​​sexy,Mensch-She challenges the historical lies that underpin racist ideas. Asking the "you" if she is offended and upset about who she issamethat is, Angelou's spokesperson exposes the irrationality of anti-Black hatred.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (6)

Theme 3: The Enduring Nature of Black Resilience

A final central theme that characterizes "Still I Rise" is the enduring nature of black resilience. Throughout the poem, the speaker portrays the nature of his resilience through comparisons to things known for their toughness or toughness.Ultimately, these comparisons between speaker resilience and things that last epitomize the resilient spirit of black people in general.

Angelou's speaker characterizes their resilience as similar to things in the natural world, resisting the wear and tear that occurs over time. For example, Angelou tells the "you" of the poem that as long as they are "trodden down to earth" they will rise like "dust". And just like the moon, sun and ocean tides – all of which rise and fall – the speaker will continue to rise.

Angelou makes these comparisons to represent the speaker's resilience in a certain way. Like the "certainty" of the sun and moon patterns, the speaker's resilience is certain. It will not fade or diminish; will last.The speaker assures the "thou" of the poem that no matter what the speaker says or does, no matter what happens, the speaker will rise.

References to human activities such as oil extraction and gold prospecting also illustrate the importance and value of resilience.

The narrator says they walk around like they have oil wells pumping in their living room and she laughs like they have gold mines in their backyard. Not the speaker of the poem, of coursein realitythey have oil wells and gold mines. Instead,The speaker makes these comparisons to show that his enduring spirit is more precious than oil and more precious than gold.

Ultimately, the speaker of the poem realizes that the "you" of the poem cannot understand the value of the speaker's resilience, nor can it diminish the driving force behind the speaker's resilient mind.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (7)

The 2 main poetic devices in "Still I Rise"

poetic meansare literary devices that poets use to enhance and create the structure, tone, rhythm, and meaning of a poem. In Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise" Angelou usesRepetition and rhetorical questionsto reinforce the meaning of your poem.

Poetic Device 1: Repetition

repetitionoften used in poetry to solidify a key idea or theme. Just like the chorus of a song, repetition can also be used to create a specific rhythmic effect and set the mood of a poem. In "Still I Rise"Angelou's narrator repeats the chorus "Still I rise" and "I rise" to convey the power of black resilience and establish a triumphton.

The repetition of "I still get up" and "I get up" is builta stark contrast between the hateful actions of the poem's "thou" and the unyielding response of the poem's speaker.Angelou describes how the "you" of the poem tries to keep the speaker down. The "you" addressed by the speaker can "kick her to the ground", "shoot her with his words", and "cut her with his eyes". These actions are all designed to break the speaker's spirit. But in response to each of these attempts to suppress them, the speaker repeats the phrase: "I rise."

in order ofWhile the hatred portrayed in the poem is dirty and low, the speaker's opposition rises far above this type of exchange.Instead of responding with hate, the speaker walks, laughs and dances, rejecting the lies of those who seek to oppress him.

The repetition of the phrase "I rise" is also symbolic: it conveys the ongoing resilience of the black spirit in response to ongoing racism and discrimination. With each repetition of "I rise" the reader gets a sense of how strong and resilient the speaker is.This repetition underscores the speaker's message that attempts to hold back black people will never succeed.As the eighth stanza of the poem says, black resilience is like the ocean:

From a past rooted in pain
I get up
I am a black ocean, bouncy and wide
I carry waves and ripples on the tide.

In other words, “stand up” is not something the speaker, and by extension black people, do just once. Because of racial oppressionin addition to that, moreoverkeep going, black people are still standing.

Poetic device 2: rhetorical questions

rhetorical questionsare the other main poetic device used by Angelou to convey the meaning of "Still I Rise".Rhetorical questions are questions an author asks to get the reader to find their own answer - and to think more deeply about complicated issues in the processes. Writers often use rhetorical questions to guide readers toward answers that reinforce the poem's message.

In "Still I Rise", rhetorical questions appear at the beginning of four stanzas. Every rhetorical question in this poem is addressed to the "you" of the poem. Each question asks how the speaker insults the recipient. This technique allowsinvestigating angelouwhythe addressee hates the speaker... which also allows him to shed light on the flimsy reasons behind racism.

The repetition of these rhetorical questions creates a tone that feels more like an interrogation than a conversation - and that's intentional.Every rhetorical question addressed to the odious "you" in the poem serves to condemn its odiousness,especially when Angelou's voice actress starts answering the questions herself.

In addition, the speaker answers the rhetorical questions for the reader in turnto help readers see the secondary motivations behind his hatred of black people.Take, for example, the sequence of questions and answers in the fifth stanza of the poem:

Does my pride offend you?
Don't take it too seriously
Because I laugh like I have gold mines
Dig in my own backyard.

The above stanza begins with a rhetorical question to the reader about pride. But Angelou's spokesperson also answers the question and reveals that yes.already You knowthe "you" of the poem is offended by her arrogance.

Finally, Angelou uses rhetorical questions to ask the collective “you” addressed in the poem to think about its own hatred and bigotry. By answering these questions with declarative statements throughout the poem, Angelou signals to the "you" of the poem that black peoplethey are notconfused about where this hate comes from. They understand that Black people's refusal to back down in the face of continued lies and cuts only enrages those filled with hate.

In fact, these rhetorical questions, brought together in the poem, convey an attitude of defiance.They make the poem's "thou" ask itself, in essence, "Did you really think your hate could hold us back?" However, Angelou mentions anti-black violence with every rhetorical question and provides a robust response to every cut in her mind. answers communicates, she emphasizes how strong black people are.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (8)

What is the next?

Analyzing poetry can be difficult, so it helps to read some expert reviews.We have a lot inour blogthat you can read, like thisDylan Thomas' "Don't Walk Softly On This Good Night"orthis article that explains 10 different sonnets!

It's so much easier to analyze poetry when you have the right tools for it!Don't miss our in-depth guides on poetic deviceshe likesassonance,Pentâmetro jambischer, esuggestion.

if you care moreWritePoetry, instead of analyzing it, we cover it!Here they areFive great tips for writing poetry(esome scholarships for aspiring poets, Furthermore).

Need more help on this topic?Check out Tutorbase!

Our verified database of tutors includes a range of experienced educators who can help you improve an English essay or explain how derivatives work for calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (9)

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Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou: poem analysis (10)

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What is the meaning of each stanza in Still I Rise? ›

The first stanza of the poem starts with stating how words have no power over her. The second stanza tells about the confidence and a positive attitude that the narrator posesses. The third stanza is the comparison of certainty of nature with her resilience and determination to rise against challenges.

What are the five things in nature the speaker compares her determination to in Still I Rise? ›

Question 1: The speaker compares her determination to five things in nature. What are they? Answer: The speaker compares her determination to the moon, the sun, air, tides and ocean.

Who is the speaker addressing in the poem Still I Rise? ›

Throughout “Still I Rise,” the poem's speaker addresses an unknown “you.” At first glance, it may seem like this “you” could be anyone, but as we get deeper into the poem, it becomes clear that Angelou is addressing a specific type of person: anyone who despises or hurts Black people because of their racial identity.

What is the lesson of Still I Rise? ›

Still I Rise is about overcoming oppression with grace and pride, having no sympathy for the oppressors and giving to validity to the reasons for oppression.

What is the main idea of the poem? ›

Complete answer:

A poem's core concept is the subject of the poem, or 'what it's about' if you like. While many shy away from poetry being 'about' something, at the end of the day, as it was written, the poet had something in mind, and that something, whatever it was or may have been, is the central concept.

What is the message of the poem? ›

Theme is the lesson or message of the poem.

Is there personification in the poem Still I Rise? ›

“Still I Rise” poetry, there were found; 7 metaphors, 1 personification, and 6 similes.

How does Angelou create a sense of defiance in Still I Rise? ›

The sixth stanza sees Angelou asserting her defiance: cruel words and unkind looks, and 'hatefulness' (a word which flickers with the dual meaning of both 'detestable attitudes' and 'hatred for others'), may be slung at her and other black people, but they will rise 'like air': naturally and lightly.

What does the speaker compare himself to and why? ›

(v) The speaker compares himself to the one who is striving to win some contest, like one of two prize-fighters. He compares himself to someone who wins a prize in the contest.

What is the summary and analysis of Still I Rise? ›

Broadly speaking, the poem is an assertion of the dignity and resilience of marginalized people in the face of oppression. Because Angelou often wrote about blackness and black womanhood, "Still I Rise" can also be read more specifically as a critique of anti-black racism.

What poetic devices are used in Still I Rise? ›

since the rhyming is repetetive throughout the poem, it reveals that the speaker continues to overcome each situation of oppression and each oppressor.
  • Repetition: Significance: ...
  • Rhyme: "Oil wells" or "rising dust" ...
  • Symbolism: Significance: ...
  • Metaphor: Significance: ...
  • Rhetorical Question: Significance: ...
  • Simile: ...
  • Hyperbole:

What are the poetic devices in the poem Still I Rise? ›

The poem is called “Still I Rise”, by Maya Angelou. This poem's literal meaning is that no matter what happens or what is thrown at her, she will always rise. The form of this poem is stanzaic and contains a number of poetical devices, including repetition, simile, metaphor, personification and rhyme scheme.

Why Is Still I Rise a powerful poem? ›

'Still I Rise' is an empowering poem about the struggle to overcome prejudice and injustice. It is one of Maya Angelou's most famous and popular poems. When read by victims of wrongdoing, the poem becomes a kind of anthem, a beacon of hope for the oppressed and downtrodden.

What is the author's purpose in the poem? ›

An author's purpose is his reason for or intent in writing. An author's purpose may be to amuse the reader, to persuade the reader, to inform the reader, or to satirize a condition.

What is the central idea of the chapter? ›

The central idea is the central, unifying element of the story, which ties together all of the other elements of fiction used by the author to tell the story. The central idea can be best described as the dominant impression or the universal, generic truth found in the story.

What is the message of the story? ›

A story's message, or theme, is what the author wants to teach you through his or her writing. Some stories have a specific kind of message called a moral, or a life lesson. You can find the message of a story by looking at the characters' actions and focusing on what is repeated throughout the story.

What is the moral of the poem answer? ›

Answer:A moral is the lesson of a story. ... Moral comes from the Latin word mores, for habits. The moral of a story is supposed to teach you how to be a better person. If moral is used as an adjective, it means good, or ethical.

What are the lessons that we learn from the poem meaning? ›

Answer: although we commit mistakes and face failure there is always a hope for a next chance in our lives. we must have a strong desire to try and make our life and our world better.

What is the tone of the poem Still I Rise? ›

The tone of the poem is admiring, hopeful, and passionate. The poem express a sensation of admired about how she use her sassiness and haughtiness to give a message about no one is going to bring her down.

What is a hyperbole in Still I Rise? ›

Hyperboles are an important literary device to this poem. “ 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” (21-24). This shows the judgment people have for others. With the help of the literary devices, the poem has more depth.

Why does the speaker consider himself herself as an outsider? ›

Why does the speaker consider himself/herself as an outsider? Answer: The speaker considers himself/herself as an outsider because nobody can understand what he is saying. His words appear strange to other people and they ignore him.

Why does the boy compare himself to a bird? ›

Why does the boy compare himself to a caged bird? Answer: Like a caged bird, the boy is also not free to do any thing at his own will. He wants to lead a life of freedom but he can't because there are many restrictions on him.

What does the Speaker represent in the poem? ›

The speaker can be considered the storyteller or the actor of the poem. The narrative, emotions, and images in the poem are conveyed through the speaker.

What is the meaning of each stanza of the poem? ›

In poetry, a stanza is used to describe the main building block of a poem. It is a unit of poetry composed of lines that relate to a similar thought or topic—like a paragraph in prose or a verse in a song. Every stanza in a poem has its own concept and serves a unique purpose.

What does stanza 3 in Still I Rise mean? ›

Stanza Three

Still I'll rise. In this stanza, she compares herself to the moon and the sun as they are affected by the tides. This gives the reader the understanding that the speaker has no other choice but to rise out of her affliction.

What is stanza 6 of Still I Rise? ›

No matter what, “I rise, I rise, I rise.” In the sixth stanza, “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.” The stanza speaks for itself.

What does turns again home in stanza 2 mean? ›

"When it turns again home" refers to when the tide comes back in, filling the harbor and covering the sandbar. If the tide is in, that makes for smooth sailing for our speaker. He can cruise right out over that sandbar with nothing standing between him and the boundless deep.


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