Comparative Essay: Still I Rise And Telephone Conversations

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Comparative Essay – “Still I Rise” and “Telephone Conversations’
How is prejudice explored in the poem “Still I Rise” and “Telephone Conversations?”

The poems “Still I Rise” and “Telephone Conversations” by Maya Angelou and Wole Soyinka discuss the theme of prejudice and racial discrimination. Both poets examine social injustice through the use of imagery, language, and direct address. They further explore the theme using different structures, lexis, imagery and techniques. Angelou and Soyinka discuss the same theme, as both were victims of racial discrimination in America during the 1970’s. Angelou as well as Soyinka depicted the extent of social injustice black people faced using at times similar and at other times different poetic techniques. Throughout the essay the similarities and differences of poetic techniques, structure, and devices will be compared and contrasted. Imagery is a technique explored in great depth in both poems. Angelou and Soyinka utilize imagery to help convey their messages about the social
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Both poets express their feelings towards prejudice using powerful and impactful language. In “Still I Rise” Angelou uses direct address to make her point more personal. Moreover, Angelou always connotes the word “I” with a positive and confident statement, while she connotes the word “You” with a negative and disregarding statement. This is evident when she says; “You may trod me in the very dirt. But still like dust, I’ll rise.” This quote makes the reader feel the pain of the Blacks who were treated like ‘dirt’ or ‘dust’, however Angelou takes this negative comment and gives it a positive connotation. Furthermore she uses consonances to underline the theme of prejudice against her people. For example when she says, “Bowed head lowered” she is adding emphasis to those two words that have denotations and highlights the image about the ‘low class’
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