Maya Angelou

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How is Maya Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Woman" a source of inspiration to all women?   

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This poem is a source of inspiration to all women because it creates an inclusive vision of womanhood. This is shown clearly in the first stanza when the speaker states that she does not adhere to society's typical view of beauty: she is not the same size as a "model," for instance, nor is she "cute." Instead, the speaker's beauty comes from the way she walks and behaves. We see this idea repeated in the next stanza when she  describes how men flock to her whenever she walks into a room, like bees around a hive. This is inspirational because it suggests that women do not have to look a particular way in order to be happy and beautiful—they are beautiful and inspirational in their own natural way.

Secondly, the speaker inspires women by using the word 'phenomenal,' a word which is defined as something extraordinary and remarkable. So, by using this word, the speaker creates an association between being a woman and being extraordinary and special. More importantly, she does not differentiate between different types of women: for the speaker, all women are special, regardless of their background. Such a positive message is both inspirational and uplifting to her female readers. Moreover, by repeating the word 'phenomenal' throughout every stanza of the poem, the speaker constantly reinforces this positive message and inspires women to believe in their inherent specialness.

Finally, the speaker uses language to create positive images of womanhood which are also inspirational. In stanza two, for example, she mentions the "swing in her waist" and the "joy in her feet," which suggests happiness while also demonstrating her confidence. Similarly, in the third and final stanzas, the speaker uses words like "grace," "sun" and "smile" to create a light and happy mood. This is inspirational because it tells women that just being a woman is enough to be happy, confident and beautiful. 

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