Still I Rise Summary & Analysis

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About Poem: Still I Rise

Poem TitleStill I Rise
AuthorMaya Angelou
GenreLyric poetry
Publication date1978
ToneEmpowering, Defiant
ThemeSelf-love, resilience, and overcoming oppression
SpeakerA Black woman who is addressing her oppressors
FormFree verse
MotifsRising, Defiance, Strength, Confidence
ImageryRising, Joyful Singing, Ocean tides, Bright mornings
SymbolsThe moon, air, dust, and “You” (representing the oppressor)
Literary devicesRepetition, rhetorical questions, anaphora, imagery, personification

Themes: Still I Rise

The themes of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou are:

  1. Resilience ➤ The poem celebrates the ability to bounce back and stay strong in the face of adversity.
  2. Empowerment ➤ It emphasizes self-confidence and the power to overcome discrimination and oppression.
  3. Defiance ➤ The poem is about standing up against those who try to put you down and asserting your worth.
  4. Triumph over Adversity ➤ It highlights the idea that no matter what challenges come your way, you can still succeed and thrive.

“Still I Rise” Poem

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 backyard.

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” Summary & Analysis

Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou is a powerful and empowering poem. In this poem, the speaker expresses their determination to overcome adversity and oppression. The poem is divided into several stanzas, each with its own message:

Stanza 1

In the first stanza, the speaker begins by expressing their confidence and pride despite the attempts of others to bring them down. They acknowledge that people may have tried to hurt them, but they still stand tall, like the tides in the ocean.

Stanza 2

The second stanza talks about how people may have lied about the speaker, spreading rumors and false stories. However, this doesn’t bother the speaker. They emphasize that they are not defeated by these lies.

Stanza 3

In the third stanza, the speaker mentions that others might be uncomfortable with their success and confidence. But the speaker is unshaken; they embrace their uniqueness and self-assurance.

Stanza 4

The fourth stanza talks about the hardships and challenges faced by the speaker’s ancestors, who endured slavery and injustice. Despite this difficult history, the speaker refuses to be defeated and continues to rise.

Stanza 5

The fifth stanza acknowledges the harshness of life, with dust representing difficulties and obstacles. The speaker, however, doesn’t let these challenges stop them. They rise above the dust and continue to shine.

Stanza 6

In the sixth stanza, the speaker addresses those who have tried to bring them down. They declare their resilience and strength, stating that they will rise above any attempts to keep them down.

Stanza 7

The seventh stanza speaks to those who have wronged the speaker, suggesting that they should feel guilty for their actions. The speaker’s confidence and self-worth are unshaken.

Stanza 8

In the final stanza, the speaker emphasizes their resilience and the fact that they continue to rise, no matter what. They declare their indomitable spirit and their determination to overcome adversity and discrimination.


What is the meaning of the poem Still I Rise?

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou is a poem about the strength and resilience of the human spirit, even in the face of oppression and adversity.

Who is Maya Angelou addressing in Still I Rise?

Maya Angelou is addressing those who have tried to hurt or suppress her.

What is the feminism in Still I Rise?

The feminism in “Still I Rise” is in the speaker’s celebration of her strength, resilience, and beauty as a Black woman, in the face of oppression and discrimination.

What are the words to the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou?

The words: I am strong and resilient, and I will always rise above my oppressors.

What is an important quote from Still I Rise?

The quote “You may write me down in history” is an important line.

What is the power and beauty of blackness as expressed in the poem Still I Rise?

The power and beauty of blackness in poem is expressed through the speaker’s resilience, pride, and determination to overcome oppression.

What does the black ocean symbolize in Still I Rise?

The black ocean in poem symbolizes the speaker’s strength, resilience, and beauty.

What message does the poem convey to us?

The messages that poem convey us is: we are all strong and resilient, and we can overcome any obstacle.

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