Celebration of feminine spirit in “Phenomenal woman” and “Still I rise” by Maya Angelou

The world always count woman as a relative being of men. In our contemporary thought men is counted as general being and woman as negative being. It has been rooted to our conventional thought that a woman’s entity is impossible without men and unfortunately woman of society got convinced. But here in this two poem Maya Angelou talks about power and celebration of feminine entity by breaking off the general myth.

In “the phenomenal woman” she present a woman who doesn’t exist for the sake of men rather she is proud and confident as a woman herself . She is not confident because she is pretty or trendy rather she is proud to be a women who is a treasure herself. Every part and curves of her body make men fall down on their knees. Her inner mystery and beauty is so alluring that men gets blind and wonder what is so captivating about her .

“It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
In most of the cases women themselves feel wary because of her body. She feels inferior and can’t find her identity in a world where her main weakness is her body. Women insecurities about her body slowly becomes a curse in her life. In society and in many religion woman’s body are labeled as territory of sin . But here Maya Angelou is saying that every part of a woman’s body declares beauty and power. So rather than hating her body a woman should love her body which is beautiful. In the grace of her style, in the curve of her body and in the shine of her smile the power and wealth of her being sparks. Rather than man women have so many asset to be proud about and she should empower her mind like that. And the poet suggest that woman who celebrates her spirit and feel proud about her can win the world. Because the world want phenomenal women who loves herself and can love the world. In the poem Angelou is telling the women to be like her. Because throughout her life she went through inhuman struggle but she have conquered her self-doubt and is known as warrior. She is asking every woman to follow her to prove their identity. That is why she is repeating again and again:

‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

“Still I rise” the very tittle gives the sense of power and strong entity. History or “his story” is full of lie and she knows the cruel irony of it. She is beyond any oppression and lies. “like dust, I’ll rise” she states. She compared herself with all the force which cannot be stopped like sun, moon, hopes, air, etc. Also the ‘oil wells” , “gold mine” and “diamond” these treasure are available in Africa and belongs to the black people .So they are rich . But these three natural resources also indicates woman’s private body parts. . these natural resources hidden beneath the earth, hidden from sight, and they have to be mined in order to be discovered. The same is true of black women’s characteristics the sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness. Generally woman’s body is identified weakness and dependence to other.Maya Angelou gives quite different opinion. From her point of view woman’s body is the powerful form .The poem actually mocking at men and the ruler both and challenging them that they can not stop her from rising. The poet thinks that laugh is a revenge itself and the tone of the poem suggest that she is actually laughing at the others who are trying to threatening her .

“Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts
that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise.”

The spirit of women and black people who are being oppressed over the decades.This poem gives inspiration and encourage to be fearless and gives the hope of victory. No matter now fearful and painful their history is they will rise.

In this two poem mostly the theme is same .Both of the poem gives the idea of celebrating female identity and feminine spirit. Also inspire woman to love themselves no matter how hard reality is.

This paper was written by Jessica Islam for Eng211( Representation of women in Literature)



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8 responses to “Celebration of feminine spirit in “Phenomenal woman” and “Still I rise” by Maya Angelou

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