Nowadays, African American women are obliged to overcome two obstacles at once. The first one they have to plant confidence in themselvesas a woman, then as a black woman. Let’s take the first issue. Related to our topic which is poetry, let’s ask this question whatis the difference between a poetry written by male or others written by female, the truth is that poetry written by woman is neglected. The ability of the woman is underestimated. However, many women were writing but unfortunately were socially isolated. Another aspects for neglecting the women was the lack of education. Women are placed to be a household no other thing; it was more important than education. This phenomena apparent among the African American women who were denied from their rights of education, work, freedom and other social lives, because of their gender, colour religion …..etc.
Therefore; from many women’s poets we chosen to analyse the poem of the African American woman which is Maya Angelou, she wrote the poem of “I still Rise” to show that no matter what situation you are in , you have to stand up and to keep walking and remember that there is always hope. Maya Angelo has faced rough conditions because of her colour as black woman but she was strong and brave woman. In this chapter we are going to cover the following points: Biography of Maya Angelou , the circumstances in which the poem “I still Rise ” exists, and the last point the analysis of the poem “I still Rise “.
4-2 Biography of the author
Maya Angelou is a black woman with 80 years old, a poet, a playwright, an author, in addition to that, she was an active participant in the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou lived in a harsh period of her life full of racism, segregation, discrimination, stereotype, because of her shameful history of slavery, her ancestors was slaves, they treated badly by their owners; physically and mentally.
Maya Angelou was a brave and strong black woman; she faced the white oppressors and defended her rights. Maya Angelou wrote many poems; racism, courage, self-worth, discrimination was considered as her major themes in her literary works.
At the age of 16, Maya Angelou entered to the field of literature. She wrote many successful works; she proved herself in the world of literature.
Black woman with positive attitudes, her successful poem “Still I rise “shows her powerful strength, and strong determination to overcome the difficulties. The message of her poem delivers the human’s incredible strength and potential to survive and to improve his valuable being.
Cucinella states that marguerite Ann Johnson, later known as Maya Angelou, was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Vivian Baxter, a carefree gambler, ran a boarding house, and her father, Bailey Johnson, served as a navy cook. Maya’s older brother, Bailey Johnson, Jr., always very protective of her, referred to her using the possessive form of “My” and “Mya Sister.” Thus Marguerite became Maya, meaning “mine.” Angelou’s early life, unsettling, mobile, dramatic, did not change terribly as she grew older. In 1930 Vivian and Bailey Johnson divorced, and their children shuttled back and forth between each parent as well as between grandparents, moving from Missouri to Long Beach, California to Stamps, Arkansas. In St. Louis, eight-year-old Marguerite was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend, resulting in the young victim’s inability to speak for several years. The children then lived in Arkansas with their paternal grandmother, Anne Henderson. During her years of silence, Angelou read ravenously and wrote poetry. She embraced the works of William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allan Poe and devoured Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Angelou graduated with honors from Lafayette County Training School in Arkansas in 1940, moved to San Francisco with her mother in 1941, and attended George Washington High School in California. At age fourteen, she accepted a scholarship to California Labor School in San Francisco to study drama and dance. In 1943 she moved to Los Angeles with her father but ran away and after living a month in a junkyard with other homeless children Angelou returned to her mother. In 1944 Angelou gave birth to a son, Guy Johnson, now a novelist. One year later the teenage mother graduated from Mission High School in San Francisco. Nothing Angelou did was small, ordinary, or without grand ?ourish, and this trend continued. Raising her son alone, she worked as a bordello madam and prostitutebefore settling into marriage in 1950 with Tosh Angelos (she later changed Angelos to the more exotic Angelou) (12).