Maya Angelou Essay

1011 words - 5 pages

Sewit Asfaha
Hum 300
Maya Angelou

•Born: 4 April 1928
•Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri
•Best Known As: Author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Name at birth: Marguerite Johnson

Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, was nominated for a National Book Award and made her a symbol of pluck and pride for African-American women. In the 1950s Angelou had been a dancer and stage actress, and she was active in the civil rights movement (she became a coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, thanks to a request from Martin Luther King, Jr.). During the 1960s she spent five years in Africa, working as a journalist and a ...view middle of the document...

Although I previously believed that Maya Angelou was talking of herself, I now think that she is not talking of a woman in particular but is addressing all women on being a phenomenal woman.
Repetition, Metaphor, Symbol, Imagery, Personification, Hyperbole
The first connotation I noticed in this poem was its use of repetition and how it put an emphasis on what phenomenal woman is. Also, as she listed what made her a phenomenal woman, I was able to picture the confident woman she was describing and labeled them as imagery. I felt that the two reactions from other women and men were hyperboles (because I don't think the women really would ask nor would men really drop to their knees) to prove her point AS WELL AS symbols because it showed the awe that one would be in in front of Angelou's definition of a phenomenal woman. In the third stanza, "Inner mystery" symbolized confidence. Although this poem did not have a particular rhyme scheme or a consistent rhythm, by using deliberate pauses, I felt a definite flowing rhythm within the poem.
Maya Angelou's tone was that of a strong, confident woman, challenging the stereotypes of what makes a phenomenal woman. It was also that of an encouraging leader, demanding that women be confident in themselves.
Although there seemed to be a shift of setting on all the stanzas, I believe that there were three main shifts throughout the poem. I believe they were divided at the third, fourth, and the last stanza. From the beginning to the third stanza, it was describing how other people saw her and how she responded. In the fourth stanza, she made a statement about exactly she perceived herself and the silent message within those three lines, while in the last stanza, she ends the poem with...

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