“Still I Rise” By Maya Angelou Essay

Still I Rise By Maya Angelou Term paper

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Rising Up “Still I Rise” ;by Maya Angelou is directed towards blacks on how to be proud of their ancestry, themselves, and their overall appearance. The poem is a special and motivating poem that African-Americans (and other races for that matter) should read and take to heart. According to African-Americans, Maya Angelou states that no matter what white Americans (slave owners) say or do to African-Americans (slaves) they can still rise up to make a better life for themselves and their race as a whole. One reason blacks should rise above their oppression is so they can better themselves and in turn make a better life for their next generation, just as their ancestors tried to do. “Bring the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave” ;says Angelou is taking the lessons learned from their ancestors and dreaming and hoping to rise above slavery. They felt that if they rose above slavery, their children and grandchildren would not have to partake in torture and pain. White Americans had and still have a different perception of the previous quote and they feel that what their ancestors had given them will help them to fulfill their dreams and in doing so slaves would be needed to keep their dream alive. Self love and assurance are also a major component to rising above others as Maya Angelou explains in her poem. She expresses herself by saying sassiness, which means to talk to someone disrespectfully, can help a person achieve personal satisfaction that may help them take on tough situations. Many slave felt intimidated by their masters and they felt that what their masters said about them was true and without their masters they would be in a worse situation. The appearance, shape, and style of an African-American is another way that whites try to downgrade the African-American race. Many blacks in the past and the presence have a problem with their shape, hair, and overall appearance due to the way whites despised their looks. Maya Angelou is trying to help other African-Americans see the beauty within themselves and not let the hatefulness of white Americans influence how they feel about themselves by saying “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”. Some white Americans may interpret the previous quote differently by saying they can talk to the slaves the way they want, they can give the slaves an evil look, they can also be hateful to the slaves, but no matter what the slave masters will continue to be better and rise about the slaves. In my opinion from what I have seen and heard from white Americans the main reason they dislike the way African-Americans look is because they know deep down in their hearts that the black race as a whole is beautiful. Maya Angelou says as a people we must believe in ourselves and take pride in what we do to try to overcome what our ancestors went through. As a race we must find strength within ourselves to never let our race lie victim to the torture of another race. Also, our race must always remember what our ancestors went through so that we can stand tall with pride. Never should we allow other races to see our pain, tears, and as Maya says “soulful cries” ;unless it is a result of overcoming obstacles and hurdles that pose a tremendous burden in our lives. I agree with what Maya says and how our race should try to better ourselves. She has good points on how the white race perceives our race and how they hate to see us succeed.

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