What types of figurative language are used in the poem "Still I Rise"?

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The poem is written in the second-person perspective, meaning that the speaker addresses the reader directly as “You.” This word is, significantly, the first word of the poem, and it is repeated nine more times throughout the poem. This is of course an example of repetition. The speaker repeatedly uses this form of direct address so as to position the readers as her accusers and oppressors. In this way, the reader is compelled to question their own complicity in the speaker’s oppression.

There is also throughout the poem a recurring motif of natural imagery. For example, in stanza 1, the speaker says that she will rise “like dust”; in stanza 6, she declares that she will rise “like air”; and in stanza 8, she says that she is “a black ocean, leaping and wide.” The simile in the first two quotations, and the metaphor in the third, all imply that the speaker is as powerful and as relentless as the elements of earth, air, and water respectively. This recurring motif of natural...

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