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


“Still I Rise” shows a theme of perseverance through the entire poem (IC). This is shown through the title itself, “Still I Rise” implies that the speaker will rise no matter what challenges try to get her down (CX). This theme is universal, as everyone alive has faced some type of discouragement, or someone trying to put them down (CX). The application to all humans, and the historical significance that the poem implies makes it very appealing (IC). The theme of perseverance is the most prevalent through the entire poem and is truly what the speaker wants to get across to her audience (CX).

The speaker’s change of identity happens about halfway through the poem, and shows a change of mood and attitude (IC). The speaker starts using shorter, punctual stanzas, without questioning her oppressor’s opinion about her (IC). The line that states “I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,” is a statement of fact, not a question (IC). The speaker is saying what she is, not asking what someone may think about her (CX). This change in phrasing illustrates the bigger change in identity that the speaker undergoes (CX).

It is not necessary for a speaker to undergo a tragedy in their life in order to write meaningful poetry (IC). Robert Frost was an amazing poet and he did not have any tragedies in his life that were on the same level as Angelou’s (CD-CX). Many poets have written moving, inspiring poetry, without having gone through tragedies in their lives (CX). While some of our favorite poertry is about tremendous hardships, that is not the only way to produce interesting poetry (CX). The simple act of a tragedy occuring is not necessary to produce a great poet (IC).


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