Still I Rise Poem Analysis

1585 Words7 Pages
How is the theme of identity showcased in the poems “Presents from my aunts in Pakistan” and “Still I rise”? (More than 800 words)

Both poems - Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi and Still I Rise by Maya Angelou demonstrate the ways in which the poets assert their identities. In the former poem, the poet is torn between her British and Pakistani roots and is struggling to fit and express loyalty to one or the other, while in the latter the poet is expressing her strength and asserting her identity as a black American woman despite the challenges that prevent her from doing the same. Both poets use a broad range of ideas and language techniques to express their deep and complex emotions. In Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”,
…show more content…
As Alvi grew older, she became more inclined to accept the Pakistani culture, as she “... pictured her birthplace from fifties photograph.” When she looks at her photographs from Pakistan where she was born, she remembers the “fractured land”, which was struggling under war, and she remembers her aunts being “screened from male visitors, sorting presents, wrapping them in tissue.” The poet mentions the aspects of the Pakistani culture without expressing any opinions, or emotions, which may show her inability to connect with some parts of the Pakistani culture. Then she becomes a distant observer as she sees the beggars and sweeper girls, the horrors of her native land and realizes that she has “no fixed nationality.” The poem ended with Alvi finally accepting her mixed race and multicultural identity. Even though she cannot call herself only Pakistani or British, her staring at the Shalimar Gardens through the fretwork gives the readers a sense that even though the Pakistani culture is distant from her she still wishes to connect with it.

Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” is written during 1978, where racism exist particularly in America. “Still I Rise” is a powerful
…show more content…
“Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise, Up from a past that’s rooted in pain” As she aims to inspire a whole nation, of those who have been enslaved to have hope despite their darkest time.

The difference between “Still I Rise” and “Presents from my aunts from Pakistan” is that “Still I Rise” is about struggling against racial oppression while “Presents from my aunts in Pakistan” is about a confused girl belonging to two different nationalities. Angelou’s poem is also very strong and inspiring and aims to inspire a whole race of people whereas Alvi’s poem is more personal, only related to herself and some people who come from a multicultural background.

In conclusion, both poems aims to convey the theme of identity through it strong ideas/characters, powerful language techniques, however expressed in a different way. “Presents from my aunts in Pakistan”, depict the desperation of a young girl’, trying to reflect on her identity while being multi-cultural, with no fixed identity. Whereas, Maya Angelou “Still I Rise” addresses a whole race of African-americans being discriminated acting as an inspiring identity under the oppression of
Open Document