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Maya Angelou's “Still, I Rise” and 'The aboriginal Charter of Rights' by Oodgeroo Noonuccal: Critical Analysis of Poetry

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Still, I rise

Maya Angelous “Still, I Rise” poem is about her fight with racism and discrimination throughout her lifetime. The poet uses repetition, metaphors, similes plus other poetic techniques to communicate to the audience regarding how she has defeated racism in her life by demonstrating a strong attitude to others. It is additionally regarding an African-American woman’s response to those who discriminate against her race. This poem is similar to the “Aboriginal Charter of Rights’ which attends the discrimination of indigenous Australians poem by Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

In the poem, “Stil I rise” in the first Stanza, we read ‘you may write me down in history’, you, of course, referring to the white audience. And then further on ‘With your bitter, twisted lies’. She is saying that the white audience wrote and continues to write falsely about the black race. Soon after that, you read: ‘You may tread me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I'll rise. This means that people have treated her with disrespect, but she will not tolerate that and she will come back stronger each and every time.

During the following stanza, the first rhetorical question appears ‘Does my sassiness upset you?’ The question relates to how she comes back stronger after souls mistreat her, including how she acts toward them with sassiness. To the ending sequences of the stanza, she says ‘Cause I walk like I've got oil wells pumping in my living room’. (Simile) Those words have dual meanings, one that like oil wells she is rich, not only physically she herself, but she has a lot of worth. But two, in that referring to the white race saying that they are all rich, and do not have to work for it.‘Did you want to see me broken?’, this is again a rhetorical question meaning that people have hurt Angelou before, furthermore that she thought people wanted to see her broken. ‘Shoulders falling down like teardrops’ this to me is saying that when people hurt her that she can go from being a strong woman to being a weak and an undependable woman in seconds. She is saying that when she gets hurt that not just her physical body gets scarred, it’s her mental health too.

In the fifth stanza, it reads ‘’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines diggin’ in my own backyard’. She is referring to the white race again. Saying that they have the upper hand in everything from housing to educations and that it’s unfair. And next, in the sixth stanza, you can see that anaphora is used. You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness’. This indicates that she will stand up for her rights, no matter what happens to her. In the seventh stanza, another rhetorical question is written: ‘Does my sexiness upset you?’ This means that white people expect black to people to be less pretty and feminine than the white race. And then an example of imagery ‘does it come as a surprise that I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?’ Those words mean that a lot of people fail to recognise that black women can dress up too and be pretty. Another meaning for that is every woman’s femininity is to be valued, no matter what race you are.

‘Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise’ It reads in the eighth stanza. This line means that because of how bad her race’s history is, she won’t let it take control of her life. The first metaphor is written ‘I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide’. The metaphor means that she is comparing herself to the freedom, power and strength of the ocean. Angelou is saying that her people won’t be held back because of their antiquity (slavery).

And next, in the ninth stanza, there is another imagery example; ‘leaving behind nights of terror’. The line means that when she stood up for herself and made a change, she is leaving behind memories and nights that she will never forget (in a bad way). ‘I am the dream and the hope of the slave’. She embodies the hopes and dreams of her slave ancestors. She wants to achieve all that they were unable to do. Furthermore finally the last three lines: ‘I rise, I rise, I rise’ those last words show that any dilemma that she encounters, she will eternally overcome it also that nothing can keep her down.

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Still, I rise is a poem that deals with a horrific subject like racism plus leaves the reader with a perception of satisfaction and pride. Though falling down and getting back up is a hard task to handle, Angelou shows us that with the right amount of self-assurance we can do anything and we can rise from any situation. The fact that we feel this way is evident to Maya’s skill as a poet. She takes us in and shows us what she has to deal with. She shows the reader that the human spirit can overcome anything. Her refusal to be broken should be an inspiration to everyone.

Aboriginal charter of rights.

In the poem 'The aboriginal Charter of rights' Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses many poetic techniques to express her feeling about the unfairness of the treatment to her Culture from the Australian population and Government. The purpose of the poem was to highlight the problems and the suffering of the Australian government and the political system. The author describes the lack of equality and choices for aboriginals because of discrimination.

Every two lines, the author uses the Rhyme Technique. For one example “Ascendence, dependence”. The reason why Noonuccal uses the rhyme technique every two lines is because rhyme is an effective technique. Rhyme draws our attention to the key points and themes of the poem, it certainly drew my eyes to the meaning of the poem. But this line of the poem (Black advance, not white ascendance, Make us equals, not dependants.) is a very important line because it highlights that black beings want a chance at life and that white people get to live their luxurious life while the blacks are in slums not living up to their potential. Some other techniques the author uses include Anaphora, Alliteration, Repetition and Biblical Illusion.

'Give us the deal you still deny us, Give goodwill not bigot bias; Give ambition, not prevention Give incentive not restriction' these lines use alliteration and repetition and use powerful words to describe an image in your head that they keep getting rejected for peace between their differences and that they want peace between each other instead of discrimination and unfairness to her and her people. The repetition of the word “Gives” emphasises on the need and right of Aboriginals to be treated equally to the white Australian population.

An Example of Anaphora is 'Give us, Give us' (Give us welcome, not aversion, Give us choice, not cold coercion). This implies that the audience has the power to give these rights and freedoms to the aboriginal community. In the words 'Though Baptized and Blessed and bible' Alliteration is used. The alliteration In the sequence means for us to draw our attention to Christianity and the Hypocrisy of Christian Society to punish and reject Aboriginal Australians. Furthermore, there is an example of Biblical Allusion that is important. 'Salvation Sellers' two lines under the alliteration example, I just discussed. 'Salvation Sellers' effectiveness of the poem is the same as alliteration. And then, in the final rows of the poem, there is a rhetorical question. 'Must we native Old Australians In our own land rank as aliens?'. The rhetorical question is saying that old Australians (aboriginals) are treated like aliens (that they are being treated unjustly and differently from the white Australians). Oodgeroo’s poem takes readers into a world of Sympathy and empathy through her phenomenal writing about her life as an aboriginal Australia.

In conclusion, Oodergoo demonstrates how hard it is to live as an Aboriginal in Australia. She highlights the differences amidst the white Australian Society and the Aboriginal culture leading to diverse opinions and distinctive point of views including misunderstandings.

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Maya Angelou’s “Still, I Rise” and ‘The aboriginal Charter of Rights’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal: Critical Analysis of Poetry. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
“Maya Angelou’s “Still, I Rise” and ‘The aboriginal Charter of Rights’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal: Critical Analysis of Poetry.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Maya Angelou’s “Still, I Rise” and ‘The aboriginal Charter of Rights’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal: Critical Analysis of Poetry. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Dec. 2023].
Maya Angelou’s “Still, I Rise” and ‘The aboriginal Charter of Rights’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal: Critical Analysis of Poetry [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2023 Dec 6]. Available from:
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