Compare and Contrast the poems

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Katrina Hawkins 10d

G.S.C.E Coursework- Poetry of other Cultures

Compare and Contrast the poems “Still I Rise” By Maya Angelou and “Of course when they ask about the ‘Realities’ of black women” by Grace Nichols.

‘Still I Rise’ written by Maya Angelou and ‘Of course when they ask about the “Realities” of black woman’ written by Grace Nichols, are the two poems that I will be comparing and writing about. These poems are expressing the opinions of how white people would like to see or how they see black women.

I understand that the word culture means a wide range of ideas, knowledge and beliefs. That is usually shared between the people of a country, place, race, group or religion. The word Culture can also mean a way of life, or set of every day activities, for example a Muslim will worship five times a day. I also understand that with in one culture it is possible to have many different cultures.

Both poems are from a different culture to my own.  The poems and poets come from the same culture, which is black. Grace Nichols originally came from Guyana and Maya Angelou originally came from Missouri. Both poets are black each poem suggests this in its own individual way as in the poem “Still I Rise” the poet Maya Angelou uses the word “Slaves”, and in the past slaves have usually been referred to as black people. In the poem “Of course when they ask about the ‘Realities’ of black women” the poet Grace Nichols uses “I like to see we black women”, This suggests that she is not just writing about black women and that she is a black woman herself as she changes her language from “I” to “we”.

The poem “Still I rise” by Maya Angelou is mainly about one black woman. In the poem it is saying about a black woman being treated unfairly because of her race, and the past of her race, which may not always be rightfully true or changed in some way.

Maya Angelou opens her poems with “You may write me down in history”. This gives an impact of accusing, that the poet is accusing the reader of the lies carried out against her in the past. Maya Angelou is addressing the reader directly by using the pronoun “You” this makes the reader automatically feel involved.

“With your bitter, twisted lies”. This gives us the idea of her races past being untrue because the word “lies” has been used. Adjectives have been used to reinforce the word “lies” with “Bitter” and “Twisted”. These adjectives have been used to describe, the lies written down about black people in history. The word “Bitter” suggests that the lies are hostile and resentful. The word “Twisted” suggests that the lies are cruel and perverted.

The woman is a very ambitious person and wants to put the lies about her races past behind her and “Rise” above them “Leaving behind” “Up from a past that’s rooted in pain” are two examples of how the poet shows she wants to leave the lies behind, these have used to show the reader what she is rising from and that she is rising from the lies. Also no matter what happens, she will over come her races lied about past but at the same time still be proud that she is a member of her race.

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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 ...

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