Comparing Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman And Still I Rise

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Initially named Marguerite Annie Johnson, Maya Angelou, the daughter of Vivian and Bailey Johnson, was born in 1928. From the ages of three to seven, Maya Angelou grew up with her grandmother, a great role model whom she admired for her strength, integrity, and faith and whom she wrote about in later life. When she returned to her mother in Missouri as a seven-year-old, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. The court found the man guilty, but strangely released him resulting in his murder by Angelou’s uncles soon after, which Maya Angelou felt responsible for, having supported his release by lying at his trial. Maya Angelou proceeded not to speak for the next five years in fear that others might die. Eventually she acknowledged her blamelessness in her sexual assault and the man’s death. Soon after she found that she had a talent with words and the same strength and attitude as her mother. At sixteen, she became pregnant with her son Guy and raised him despite her young age. She worked various jobs, until working as a prostitute, nearly losing her son, changing her ways, and taking up performing. Angelou’s tour of Europe performing Porgy and Bess inspired her to take up work as a civil…show more content…
Like “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise” the speaker calls the oppressor “you,” aiming a share of the blame for her oppression at the reader in an impactful and aggressive way. After describing the struggles that she and other black women have faced, the speaker states, “but I keep on marching forward,” (17). “Marching” carries a connotation of war and bravery, like an army marching toward their opponents, which makes the female speaker sound courageous and strong for continuing her “marching forward” (17). Moreover, the first stanza presents a scenario of an oppressor blind to the overt protesting actions of the
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