Maya Angelou Figurative Language

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Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou (April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014), also known as Maya Angelou, was an American author, poet, historian, singer, civil rights activist, and much, much more. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri before moving to Stamps, Arkansas because of her parent divorcing. At an early age, she was faced to racial discrimination in Arkansas. Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend at a young age, which devastated her and led to stop talking at an early age. Therefore, the boyfriend was killed by Maya Angelou’s uncles because of this horrific act. When she became a young adult, she moved to San Francisco, where she studied and acted at the California Labor School. She made history by becoming the first African- American female…show more content…
She appeals to figurative language throughout her poem by showing that she and many other black individuals aren’t ready to give up. Repetition is one of the ways the author approaches her message throughout the poem efficiently with the use of “I rise.” The poet constantly uses this line to represent her confidence and faith despite of all the hardships that she and other people have faced throughout their lives. She uses comparison with using devices such as simile and metaphor. One quote is “You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise” (3-4). This means that the author will rise from the dirtiness from the people that will talk down about her. Another example is “just like moons and like suns (9)…just like hopes springing high, still I rise” (11-12). Angelou compares herself to the moons and suns because she will rise no matter what happens just like the sun and moon everyday. These comparisons are made by using the word, “like”, making them a simile. She also uses a different type of comparison, metaphor, which is a comparison without the use of “like or as.” In line 32, the poet quotes, “I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,” which describes herself to a black ocean, which the black ocean represents terror and fear, something that Maya Angelou has faced all her life. There are two types of figurative language devices in this specific line, personification and hyperbole, respectively. Personification is giving human qualities to a nonhuman quality. Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement which isn’t meant to be taken exactly. Angelou addresses, “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” (21-24). Maya Angelou mentions that shooting, cutting, and killing are connected to words, eyes, and hatefulness. She gives qualities to
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