With each evolving era there is a strong and independent woman leading a change. In medieval times there was Joan of Arc and in modern day America it was former first lady Michelle Obama. These women were fighters for what they believed would make the world a better place. Another leading lady who stood alongside Rosa Parks during the time where segregation was heavily present, was the incredibly talented Maya Angelou. This successful female author wrote a masterful poem during one of the most brutal times to be a black woman.
“You’re the people’s poet,” said Malcolm X to Maya Angelou in a letter exchange. Indeed, Angelou was the people’s poet. She truly knew how to relate to others’ feelings and struggles, which the common themes in her work were identity, family and racism. For the longest period of her life, she has been a pioneer in the African American poetry and an advocate of the Civil Rights movement. Moreover, her ability to relate others may come from her own experience.
In Greek Mythology, the women are typically described as reserved and gentle. The archetype has influenced art and literature for decades. For example, in the tale of Penelope, Odysseus leaves his kingdom for The Trojan War and stays away for ten years. His wife, Penelope has to protect her kingdom from the suitors and she accomplishes this by weaving a shroud during the day and unraveling it at night. She was very wary of other people, as if they were going to steal her kingdom, and even tested Odysseus to see if he was who he claimed to be.
Maya Angelou, born fourth of April 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an Afro-American author, poet, dancer, singer, actress, and most importantly a civil rights activist and a feminist. Angelou was very much aware of the discrimination she faced in the society because of her race and sex. Nevertheless, she was a proud woman and that confidence showed through not only her work but in everything, she did. Angelou reached international recognition in 1969 when she posted her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, the first non-fiction best seller by an African-American woman. Moreover, in 1971 she published the collection “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Angelou used questions to make the reader feel and understand her point of view. Maya Angelou’s work as a poet had very defined themes and styles. One of Angelou’s most iconic compositions is a poem of self-worth and perververenve deemed “Still I Rise.” The poem quickly draws the reader into the story through the use of rhetorical questions and continues this style as the poem progresses. “Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?” (“Still I Rise”).
Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State once said, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” Women have come a long way in today 's world, overcoming many obstacles and stereotypes pushed against them. Linda Pastan uses her poem, Marks, to paint a picture of life as a stay at home mother, using serious sarcasm to touch on a continuous issue. Marks was written during the second wave of feminism in 1978. This was a time where mothers and wives struggled and wanted more than the common domestic experience, more than simply obeying a man because he is just that; a man. Pastan uses tone, point of view, and metaphors to challenge the traditional role of women in the household
She had worked slowly and steadily over the years to be honoured as a titanic figure amidst the American poets. Her poetry candidly and boldly expresses the politics of sexuality, race, language, power and women’s culture. In Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law, Rich reveals her emerging feminist consciousness. She says: I was writing at the beginning of a decade of political revolt and hope and activism …. Even before I named myself a feminist, or a lesbian, I felt compelled to bring together, in my understanding and in my poems, the political world 1.
Her isolated childhood and the nursing received at an early age by her aunt had left grave impact on her life. The realities Emily and her siblings had faced were quite a reflection in her only novel, Wuthering Heights. The characters developed within the novel and the incidents were quite similar to their life such as the isolation Catherine chose for her life, Cathy’s fight for her freedom and Catherine’s desire of acquiring true love. As well as Hindley being a brother of Catherine was not supportive towards her and made a disaster of his life just like Emily’s real brother. On top of all, the early death of Mr. and Mrs.
The volume Ariel is one of the last poems of her academic period. The theme of this volume is concerned with same old conflict and contradictions between love and hate, life and death in her personal as well as universal terms. Her thesaurus was her main source of inspiration. The distinguishingly smart and efficient wording of her early poetry takes one way from the actual Plath to different etymological sources or literary influences. She achieves the magic of poetic glory simply by the force of ordinary colloquial speech.