Phenomenal Woman Summary & Analysis

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About Poem: Phenomenal Woman

Poem TitlePhenomenal Woman
AuthorMaya Angelou
Date written1969
Date published1978
Type of poemFree verse
Key themesSelf-love, Black pride, female empowerment
Literary techniquesRepetition, metaphor, simile, personification
SpeakerThe poet herself
SubjectThe speaker’s celebration of her own beauty and strength as a Black woman
ToneConfident, celebratory, and empowering
Structure30 lines, divided into 4 stanzas
Central ImageThe confident, alluring woman who dances and smiles.
Literary DevicesRepetition, metaphor, and strong imagery.

Themes: Phenomenal Woman

The themes of “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou are:

  1. Confidence ➤ The poem celebrates the confidence and self-assuredness of the woman, emphasizing the power of believing in oneself.
  2. Inner Beauty ➤ It highlights how a woman’s inner beauty and self-assured attitude can be more captivating than traditional physical beauty.
  3. Female Empowerment ➤ The poem empowers women to embrace their individuality and self-worth, emphasizing that they are phenomenal just as they are.

Phenomenal Woman Poem

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Watch Full Poem Summary on YouTube

Phenomenal Woman Summary & Analysis

Phenomenal Woman” is a powerful and empowering poem by Maya Angelou that celebrates the confidence, allure, and strength of a woman. It consists of four stanzas, and each stanza adds to the vibrant portrait of this phenomenal woman.

Stanza 1

In the first stanza, the speaker describes the impact of the phenomenal woman’s presence. She exudes an air of confidence and self-assuredness that is captivating to those around her. Her walk is compared to a dance, and her smile is referred to as “the curve of her lips.” The stanza sets the tone for the poem by highlighting the woman’s powerful and magnetic presence.

Stanza 2

The second stanza delves deeper into the reasons behind this woman’s captivating allure. Her self-assured confidence is rooted in her knowledge of her worth and her acceptance of herself. The speaker acknowledges that she may not conform to conventional standards of beauty, but it doesn’t matter. She exudes a natural, irresistible charm that sets her apart from the rest. Her self-assurance and authenticity make her a rare gem.

Stanza 3

In the third stanza, the speaker acknowledges the reactions of men to the phenomenal woman. They are drawn to her like magnets, and their admiration and desire for her are palpable. The stanza emphasizes that the woman’s charm and allure extend beyond her physical appearance; it is her inner confidence and charisma that make her so captivating.

Stanza 4

In the final stanza, the poem emphasizes the idea that the power and allure of this phenomenal woman are not just about physical beauty but a deep sense of self-worth and authenticity. Her confidence and charisma are what make her truly phenomenal. The poem encourages all women to embrace their unique qualities and recognize their worth, emphasizing that it’s the way they carry themselves and their inner strength that makes them truly phenomenal.

FAQs: Phenomenal Woman

What is the message of Phenomenal Woman?

The message of Phenomenal Woman is that all women are beautiful and powerful, regardless of their physical appearance.

What is the irony in Phenomenal Woman?

The irony in “Phenomenal Woman” is that the speaker is proud of her physical features that are not conventionally beautiful.

What is the speaker’s big secret Phenomenal Woman?

The speaker’s big secret in “Phenomenal Woman” is that her true beauty comes from within, not from her physical appearance.

What’s another word for a phenomenal person?

A phenomenal person is a remarkable person.

What is the metaphor in Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou?

The metaphor in “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou is “I walk into a room / Just like a poem.” This metaphor compares the speaker to a poem, suggesting that she is beautiful, complex, and expressive.

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