Is the narrator's voice close to the poet's in Still I Rise, or is it the voice of a fictional or historical person?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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That is a great question.

You might think of the voice as Maya Angelou speaking for a larger group, like an ambassador or diplomat speaking for a nation, or a minister speaking for a church. The thoughts expressed represent something larger than just the speaker--more than just Angelou--but are something that the speaker sees as true and important for the group.

To put it another way, look at this line late in the poem: "I am the dream and the hope of the slave."

That's telling us that this voice is meant to represent a strong, free, proud African American, someone who lives and embodies what slaves hoped and dreamed might someday be true. This is Maya Angelou, who gives a proud voice to the African American experience but it is also larger than just her. This is the voice of the free, idealized, black American.