Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" is a poem about strength and endurance, and about affirmation. It is about what is expected of a person like the speaker (in terms of controlling her), and what that person is capable of doing despite expectations.
Said of the poet:
Angelou early experienced the twin forces that would determine the shape of her life and the nature of her career: personal rejection and institutional racism.
In "Still I Rise," themes of rejection and racism can be seen. For example, the first stanza may well reflect the concept of slavery, seen with the word "history."
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
The first line suggests that the telling of the history of slaves in America has long be controlled by whites who decided what was recorded in books and what was true as they saw it, but never spoke of the reality of slave life—forced to leave their homes and be treated like property...as if...
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