My Thoughts about Maya Angelou’s, “Still I Rise”

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt. (IC) In order to be successful in our lives, we have to believe in ourselves and be self-confident. (IC) Our identity needs to be determined by us and not by others. (IC) In the poem, “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou, the theme is clear. (IC) The speaker is telling us that no matter what happens in life, we need to be ourselves and our destiny is in our hands. (IC) We need to be strong and should take control of our lives. (IC) We should not let others bring us down and should not make our life decisions based on what others think. (IC) We need to be ourselves and stay strong despite people judging us. (IC) The speaker has reflected this message in her poem in an eloquent way, which has implication in our daily living as human beings. (CX)

In this poem, the author shows the speaker changing in three different ways from the first half to the second half. (IC) The three ways are identity metamorphosis, gaining confidence, and freedom. (IC) The first way the speaker is changing is through identity metamorphosis. (IC) Here, the speaker is looking for affirmation in the first half of the poem. (IC) She is concerned of how people perceive her. (IC) Then, the speaker undergoes an identity metamorphosis. (IC) Then, the speaker finds her identity as she comes out of victimhood in the second half of the poem. (IC) The second way the speaker is changing is through confidence. (IC)  There is a shift in the speaker’s tone from the first half to the second half.  (IC) The speaker goes from “I will rise” as she is predicting the future to “rising” where she is naturally rising. (IC) The speaker believes that race and color don’t matter in order to gain confidence. (IC) The last and final way the speaker is changing from the first half to the second half of the poem is through the theme of freedom. (IC) During the first half, the speaker rhymes. (IC) She isn’t getting out of the limits, as if she is forced to stay in the perimeters. (IC) However, in the second half, this idea of rhyme scheme has changed. (IC) The speaker is free. (IC) She doesn’t care about poetic form, and she is practicing free verse. (CD) This shows that the speaker moves from a strict poetic structure to finally freeing herself. (IC)

I believe that it is not necessary for an author to experience tragedy in order to write meaningful poetry. (IC) An author has to not only experience strong emotions in order to write meaningful poetry, but they have to understand different kinds of emotions. (CD) Those emotions can be about tragedy, love, nature, or happiness. (IC) For example, the poet John Keats writes about his love for nature. (IC) His poetry is still meaningful because he is expressing strong emotion towards his love for nature. (CX) This shows that meaningful poetry can be written through understanding substantial emotions. (CX)

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