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Still I rise and Mid Term Break Analysis

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Introduction

Still I Rise In stanza one, Maya Angelou hints at her relationship with history and the body's relationship with the earth. With an African American background, she knows the importance and cruel irony of history. "His Story" is usually told from an European angle. She also correlates how the body can be put and driven into the ground, but eventually it decomposes and humans turn into earth, like soil and dust. Maya Angelou tells how she is above lies and oppression, and 'like dust, I'll rise.' Maya Angelou goes on to ask a rhetorical question to the reader. Her attitude as a confident, sassy, African American woman is out of the norm for society. A woman, let alone an African woman who has confidence in herself was a taboo idea. She asks the reader if that upsets them, which at the time, probably did. She also mentions how she carries herself, portraying it to the world as though she is rich, which for Maya Angelou she wasn't rich growing up. ...read more.

Middle

She makes it feel as though she's saying you thought I couldn't do it, but look at me now! She then asks if her pridefulness is offensive, and then proceeds to say she doesn't care if it is or not. Finally, she says that you can try and hurt her any way that you want, but she's still going to rise above it. There is a reference to roots and the slavery era, and she uses her ancestors experience as a resource for her ownstrength. She also says that she must preserve her ancestor's dreams (who were slaves) for success in a free world. In these last three stanzas she also uses questions to draw the reader in and require them to examine their own lives. She says that she will rise above the pain and suffering that her ancestors have experienced in order to fulfill their dreams of being granted the opportunity for success in a world where she is free. ...read more.

Conclusion

Note the personal pronouns "him", "his", "he" - as opposed to "the corpse". The calm mood is beautifully shown in the transferred epithet ("Snowdrops/And candles soothed the bedside" - literally they soothed the young Heaney). The flowers are a symbol in the poem, but also in reality for the family (a symbol of new life, after death). The bruise is seen as not really part of the boy - he is "wearing" it (a metaphor), as if it could come off. Heaney likens the bruise to the poppy, a flower linked with death and soothing of pain (opiates come from poppies). The child appears as if sleeping (a simile). We contrast the ugly "corpse, stanched and bandaged", which becomes a sleeping child with "no gaudy scars" - dead, but, ironically, not disfigured. The last line of the poem is most poignant and skilful - the size of the coffin is the measure of the child's life. We barely notice that Heaney has twice referred to a "box", almost a jokey name for a coffin. ...read more.

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