The poet describes herself as sassy in line five of "Still I Rise." What aspects of the poem reinforce this idea?

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mdelmuro | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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From the diction to the images created, the poem "Still I Rise" is full of "sassiness" as Maya Angelou calls it.

The word "sassy" itself has different meanings. It can mean "rude and insolent" or it can mean "confident and energetic." Both meanings work in this poem. The reader can assume that the speaker is a black woman, or the reader can assume the speaker is black women collectively. Both readings work.

One of the first sassy images is in the last two lines of the second stanza:

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells / Pumping in my living room

This image conveys the idea of the speaker walking with a bit of sass, or, better yet, unbridled confidence that says, "Look at me."

Then, in the third stanza, the speaker goes on to compare herself to the moon, sun and tides. Three natural objects that will rise no matter what happens to them.

Later on in the poem, the speaker asks, presumably to a white onlooker, or perhaps to society as a whole, "Does my haughtiness offend you?" prompting the feeling that the speaker doesn't care if it does. She echoes the question two stanzas later when she asks, "Does my sexiness offend you?" and "Does it come as a surprise?" This, again, creates a feeling of sass. The speaker stands up for her womanly goodness regardless of what society has told her to be.

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