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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

            After extensive research I have come across a poem that I believe to be "the best poem in the world." Still I Rise written by Maya Angelou is an inspirational poem symbolizing defiance and her strength to overcome negative criticism and oppression. There are many references to slavery and feminist rights throughout the piece that have a very powerful effect. She uses various amounts of poetic devices to further encapsulate the theme in this poem. These include the use of imagery, symbolism, metaphors and similes along with numerous sound devices. .
             Maya Angelou utilized figurative imagery to exemplify the sad reality, which was the oppression of African Americans during slavery along with the mistreatment of women. "You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise." (3-4) In relation to the past events of slavery and the manner in which women were treated, these lines portray an image of poorly treated races and sexes being walked all over. The word choice "Trod" and "Dirt" have connotative meanings because the majority of people would associate these words with animals. The poet is not meaning this literally, where as she is really figuratively comparing the culprits of this mistreatment to animals. There are many other examples of figurative imagery in this poem such as comparing "Oil Wells" (7), "Gold" (19) and "Diamonds" to these women and slaves. This use of imagery is used because all of these minerals are now valued higher then they were in the past. Along with figurative imagery, Maya also uses literal imagery often throughout the poem. "Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries." (13-16) Angelou tends to the readers' senses during this stanza, particularly of sight, by portraying an image of defeat. The "soulful cries" (16) further strengthen this image by adding the sense of sound.

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