Jasmine Carter Blog #2 Still I Rise

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

  You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Still I Rise is unquestionably one of Maya Angelou’s most famous pieces of writing. Maya Angelou always writes with a purpose. A purpose that fulfills her life walk as well as many other strong and independent humans lives. Similar to a few of her other poems such as; Weekend Glory, Momma Welfare Roll, and Phenomenal Woman, this poem, “Still I Rise,” reveals a person maintaining strength, pride and joy. Yet this motivational poem still has its uniqueness through the different metaphors, similes and rhyme scheme.

Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is about overcoming all the battles, insults, lies, backstabbing and all evilness that comes into her life. For example, the line, “You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I rise.” This line reveals that she clearly has haters and they are doing all that they can to kill her spirit. However she shakes it off, lifts her head and keeps living her life.  Next, Maya Angelou reveals her refusal to let people think that she is less than what she knows she is by stating, “Does my sexiness upset you?” Her mighty ego provides her with the strength to overcome the flaws and negativity of the world.

Throughout the entire poem Maya Angelou writes with a positive and powerful tone. The point of view is so that it seems like the person in the poem is actually talking to the readers. This provides the poem with a more comforting and personal read. Although the entire poem is serious, Angelou added a slight shift on stanza five when she stated, “Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines diggin in my own back yard.” Before this line Angelou was not joking around. She was being straight forward and stating her purpose. Yet at this line she starts to chuckle. She is still in her serious mind set, however the mood is a little lighter.

Maya Angelou used literary techniques very precise in this poem. Her rhyme scheme, with the exception of the last stanza is A,B,C,B, which works wonderful for a powerful poem such as Still I Rise. It provides room to emphasize words and to recite or read this poem with a lot of emotion and authority. She prestigiously uses repetition with the words “I Rise” to reveal how powerful it is to ignore the trash of the world and overcome it with no fear. Angelou provides several similes as well as metaphors. Her simile, “But still, like dust, I’ll rise,” is used to once again show the readers that she is rising up no matter what. Then her metaphor throughout the poem consists of all the fancy things she states, such as the diamonds, gold mines and oil wells. Angelou is proving that she is she as valuable and precious as those things.  

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