Literary perspectives

The poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou belongs to the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The movement championed art by Afric…


Texts with the same theme

Another poem that is centered around the theme of resilience in the face of hardship is “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Unlike “Still I Rise” which is focused on the systemic oppression experienced by black people, and more specifically black women, “Invictus” refers to a more general kind of suffering, which is inspired by the poet’s health struggles. When comparing the two poems, you could look at how the speakers’ attitudes remain positive and defiant despite the hardships they are experiencing. 

The poem “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol also explores the racism and violence African Americans endure. The poem criticizes the real-life lynching of two black men by a mob of white people. While the speaker of “Still I Rise” focuses on personal strength and resilience in the face of oppression, “Strange Fruit” presents an ironic and critical tone when describing the deadly events that stemmed from racial hatred. 

A short story that also explores themes of racism and speaking out against injustice is “She Shall Not Be Moved” by Shereen Pandit. The story deals with an incident on a bus where two white women refuse to give up their seats for a black Somali woman with a pram. The narrator fails to stand up to this injustice, which she later feels ashamed of, as she is also a black woman. When comparing “She Shall Not Be Moved” to “Still I Rise”, you may consider how the attitudes of the Somali woman and the speaker of the poem are similar when faced with discrimination …

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