What do you think about the speaker's attitude in "Still I Rise"?

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In the acclaimed poem Still I Rise (published in 1987 by Maya Angelou) the speaker's attitude is bold, daring, triumphant and playful. The speaker is clearly confident, unafraid of asking the uncomfortable questions. Throughout the poem, she proudly celebrates her heritage, family, and culture. The speaker knows that her heritage is rich, despite the fact that others "write [her] down in history" with "bitter, twisted lies." She knows her own true value, and displays it with "haughtiness" and "sassiness." 

The poem's speaker is full of joy and vibrancy. Even though she constantly faces mistreatment at the hands of others, still: she dances "like [she's] got diamonds / at the meeting of [her] thighs." The speaker's bold sensual energy pervades the poem, creating an atmosphere of triumph and play, even against the background of harsh social realities. Although the speaker belongs to a community that is disadvantaged and marginalized, she maintains her own human dignity and her personal storehouse of laughter and joy.

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