The purpose of the poem is to stress the themes of racism and self-acceptance. This poem in my opinion is to create an image of a strong, confident black woman and not the image of the stereotyped black woman. ”Does my Sassiness upset you?” “Does my Haughtiness offend you?” These questions have been used to show that she is accepting the person that she is and celebrating by letting everyone know that she is proud of herself. These questions have been used to involve the reader and question themselves about the image of the person that is in the poem and that does the image actual offends them. “I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide”. This suggests that she is celebrating that she is black; also she is referring to the ocean like her black population and that they feel the same as she does. This line is the use of a metaphor. “Leaping” and “wide” These words suggest to me that the narrator does not want to be ignored anymore and that she is speaking out for her race.
The tone of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”, is in the way she describes African-American lives in witty, intelligent language thick with rhythm and texture.
Thee mood of the poems is very mixed in emotions, anger and fear, sadness, depression but also a strong positive mood. In stanza six Maya writes “You may shoot me with your words” “You may cut me with your eyes” These lines create violent images with the help of verbs/Action words “Shoot” and “Cut”. For me these images that are created give me the feeling that the narrator is angry. “You may trod me in the very dirt” this tells us that the narrator maybe feeling depressed as this creates the image that someone is being walked all over and is not very strong as this line is very early in the poem. Also you refer to “trod” “dirt” to the floor and the floor is one of the lowest places that you can be, this may be referring to her confidence and selfasteam in this particular part may be very low and feel very low. “Shoulders falling down like teardrops, weakened by my soulful cries” This is the use of a simile. The words “teardrops” and “soulful cries” make us immediately think of sadness. “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear” This gives the impression she at night may have been afraid to leave her house, fall to sleep this may be because of white people and she fears what they may do to her.
On the other hand the poem is celebratory. “I am the dream and hope of the slave”. This is a use of metaphor. I think that she has achieved what she wants and is celebrating, and telling everyone that she is and may be inspirational to people like herself in her situation.
In the contrast to how Maya believes “we” the reader, wish to see black women she creates the image of a powerful and wealthy black woman. By using similes “ 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” Gold and oil are usually referred to wealth, so people may say that money also brings power.
“Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides,” This suggest s that she will certainly overcome the lies of her race, I know this because the moon and sun will certainly be around for me and she wants write that she will also be certain and rise above everything. The structure of the poem is written in four lined stanzas with regular rhyming scheme of abcb, the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme. Except for the last two stanzas. I believe Maya Angelou has done this too show that now she has regained her confidence, she is rising much faster than ever before above everything that has happened in the past. Also it surprises the reader as they may not expect a change and interest the reader even more. Also in the last two stanzas a lot of repetition has been used this is to reinforce the message of the poem “I Rise” “I Rise” “I Rise”. No matter what you may say or do she will always overcome and rise to the top and that it is impossible to hold her down because she is a black woman.
The poem “Of course when they ask about the ‘Realities’ of black women” by Grace Nichols. The main idea that this poem is about is that it doesn’t matter what colour, religion, race, you may be, you should not be placed or categorised into a certain group, as all people are different inn their own ways. Grace Nichols thinks that it is absurd to categorise black people as she writes “of a black woman / or a white woman /or a green woman” This has been used because you cannot categorise a green woman then why should you categorise a black women when you don’t all the black women in the world.
“Rainbow spectrum” This has been used to show that in rainbow there is many different colours. This is referring to the black population. There are many different types of people but they are still all black. The poem it’s self has not even been categorised as the tile is part of the poem and the shape of the poem reflects what the poem is about and helps not to categorise anything about the poem.
In the poem Grace has used the word “woolly”, to describe the black women’s hair. But has categorised the black women into that they all have “woolly” Afro like hair but it maybe that not all black women have “woolly” like hair.
The purpose of this poem is to show that not all black women are the same and that you should not categorise them. Also like the poem “still I Rise” is to stress the themes of racism and self-acceptance. The poem charts the slave experience from the viewpoint of a black woman. But Grace has removed from the stereotype of the long-suffering black woman and replaced her with a strong, confident character.
The poet has used a fusion of Standard English and vivid Creole expressions and her borrowings from popular Caribbean songs suit the subject perfectly. As to show her culture and that she is speaking to the black people who may have been in her position in the past. The narrative also tries to put forward the fact that she will rise above the lies just like the narrative in the poem “Still I Rise”. In stanza two the phrase “Abused stereotype” this in my opinion is because black people have been lied about and people believe them to harmful and dangerous due to the lies black peoples reputation have been ruined.
The tone of the poem is very mixed and the structure reflects the moods of the poem
Unlike Maya Angelou’s poem, this poem has no regular structure or rhyme scheme. Grace has made the title “Of course when they ask about the ‘Realities’ of black women” part of the poem as she did not want to categorise the poem. If she give the poem a proper title it would be as if she was categorising the poem the main idea from my point of view is not categorise people. Also grace does not use any punctuation through out the poem apart from the title “Realities”. This punctuation suggests the idea of sarcasm when white people ask about the realities “they”(white people) expect something totally different from what the poem is suggesting about black women. I think Grace has chosen to structure her poem the way she has to let the reader have his or her own opinion, and if a reader did categorise her poem another reader may categorise it in a different way.
Some of the verses are repeated “for a black woman/ or a white woman/ or a green woman” this tells us that this is a use of repetition. This reinforces the message of the poem. The message is that you can’t categorise a green woman so why categorise a black woman. Also “crushing out/ with each dancing step” this suggests that she is putting the lies of her race behind her and is celebrating she is doing this by dancing, dancing is usually referred to happiness. Or she maybe a dancer and is dancing for money for a better quality of life. This maybe repeated because no matter what is happening she is going to carry on and regain the truth of her folk and not gain lies.
Grace fuses from Creole dialect to English this captures the rhythms of speech and the atmosphere of Caribbean culture into the poem. She does this to reclaim her folk heritage.
The word “specimen” has been used, as when a specimen is taken in a laboratory, the specimen is then the example for the whole of everyone. A specimen is usually referred to as animals and plants. Also this specimen only used to experiment so that they are looked in a way that they have no personality or purpose. This suggests how the black population are feeling because of white people “They”.
Some imagery that has been used is “cradle a soft black woman/ and burn your fingers as you trace evolution/ beneath her woolly hair” and “touch a black woman/ you mistake for a rock/ and feel her melting down to fudge”. This creates the image of a cold-hearted woman but as soon as you get to know that black woman a bit better you that she is as loving and caring, sometimes more than a white woman.
This poem is expressing the pain of black women and that it should no longer carry on. The poem is of strong opinion for black women and their rights.
The similarities between the two poems is that both narratives want to show that they are proud that they are black but not proud to the lies and stereotyping that has been given to them. Also both use the word “dust” In “Still I Rise” the line “But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” In “Of course when they ask about the ‘Realities’ of black women” the line “whose heart is in the dust” But the two are referring to the dust in different ways.
The main differences are the structure, shape and also the different place cultures of each. The structure of Maya’s is regular and Grace’s is irregular. The culture shows more In Grace’s poem, I personal find this hard to accept and feel as if I’m not involved in this part of the poem. This may have been an intention to try and create the feeling of the black woman when white were not involving them.
Maya’s poem was the poem that made a statement tome as I felt more involved and that she was more aware of her audience. I also felt that it made more sense. The poem made me question myself and the way people of the white race have behaved inappropriately. The line which didn’t work for me was “I am the dream and hope of the slave” this is because when this poem was written there would have been less slavery and I do not believe that she is the dream of the slave. The rest I very much like.
Grace’s poem confused me and some part did not make any sense to me so I found it very hard too follow in what was being said. This poem has a lot of depth. I think it is not straight to the point, this to gives the impression that Grace may still fear to speak about her past. The structure and shape of the poem I didn’t like not like. To me it looked as thou no time had been taken was a rush and burst of thought all at once.
Over all I preferred Maya Angelou’s poem ”Still I Rise2 I think that she is a very strong black feminist writer. I hope that in the future we will be looking at more of her work.