What does the third stanza of "Still I Rise" mean?

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"Still I Rise" is a great poem because of how directly the narrator speaks about the impossibility of oppressing an entire race and treating them like second-class citizens. It is also a great poem because of how the speaker uses different techniques to promote the idea that black people will rise up to any challenge and overcome it one way or another. For example, rhetorical questions are used throughout the poem, and they seem to goad readers into entering an argument that can't be won.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?

Stanza three is a bit of a unique stanza in the poem because of the way that it incorporates metaphor and simile. The speaker mentions the moon, the sun, and the tides:

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides . . .

All three of those things will inevitably rise, regardless of how much humanity may or may not want that to happen, and that is exactly what will happen to the speaker and others like her. They will inevitably rise up and overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of their equality.

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The third stanza of Angelou's "Still I Rise" is the first stanza written only in a positive tone. The speaker compares herself to "moons" and "suns" as well as "tides." This connotes a powerful, unstoppable force—an association Angelou wants the reader to make. She returns to concrete language in the third line of the quatrain: a simile compares the speaker to "hopes springing high." Angelou creates a sense of inspiration and determination, which in turn creates an empowering effect for the speaker. Of course, the final line of this stanza, "Still I'll Rise," returns to the refrain (and title) of the poem, adding to this consistent theme.

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The third stanza of Angelou's "Still I Rise" is based upon a series of similes.  Throughout the poem, the narrator, an African-American female, is making the point that nothing that white people have done to African-Americans throughout hundreds of years will stop them from overcoming their obstacles and succeeding.  This stanza shows this with a comparison of the sun, the moon, the tides, and hope. The sun rises each day, as does the moon. The tide rises.  Hope, we all know, rises, too, no matter how bad things get. It is human to hope, even in the worst of times. So the narrator is telling the reader she is like all of these phenomena, and she will continue to rise, to triumph over the adversity that African-Americans have endured since they were brought forcibly to American shores.    

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