Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise,” alludes to the ability of slaves to leave slavery behind in spite of the trials they endured. It is unspecified whether the author is speaking of a male or a female in the poem although many assume that she is speaking of a woman. The use of simile is evident through the poem which adds to the literary appeal and indirect meaning, as do the questions she asks. The questions are almost taunting the audience, “Did you want to see me broken? “ “Shoulders falling down like teardrops.” “Does my sexiness upset you?” These questions taunt and the answers repeat the gibe which evokes emotions in the readers.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
Angelou uses repetition of the words, “I rise” throughout the poem. She includes them early in the poem as a prelude to what is to come. As she repeats them later in the poem it is to identify the subject and to remind the audience the slaves rose out of slavery to proud life. If read carefully, the gender of the subject of the poem is not revealed but is symbolic of whole race of people, “I am a black ocean,” who has left the shackles of slavery behind.