Can someone help me out interpreting/summerizing this stanza from Angelou's poem?http://www.inspirationpeak.com/poetry/bravetruth.htmlWhen we come to it  We, this people, on this minuscule and...

Can someone help me out interpreting/summerizing this stanza from Angelou's poem?
http://www.inspirationpeak.com/poetry/bravetruth.html

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe 
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger 
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace 
We, this people on this mote of matter 
In whose mouths abide cankerous words 
Which challenge our very existence 
Yet out of those same mouths 
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness 
That the heart falters in its labor 
And the body is quieted into awe

Are there any literary devices? Thanks

 

Asked on by lnt126

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The excerpt in question comes from Angelou's poem "A Brave and Startling Truth". The poem, as a whole, discusses the world as a chaotic and startling place where we, as people, must learn to deal with all we face.

The exerpt in question depicts the world as a harsh place to live in. The only things the world offers its inhabitants is bombs, blades, and daggers. This being said, Angelou points out that even with all of the negative things which influence and oppress mankind, people are still able to sing beautiful songs and be in awe of the fact that beauty can come out of such a dark and depressing place.

The expert uses a few different poetic devices.

1. Metaphor- The comparison between two things not using "like" or "as" in the comparison.

The earth is compared to a "mote of matter" (this is also a kenning--a metaphorical phrase originating in Anglo-Saxon literature used to heighten the language and imagery).

2. Personification- The giving of human qualities or characterisitcs to non-human/non-living things.

"Words which challenge" is an example of personification given that words cannot challenge; only people can challenge.

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