Whom do you think the narrator is "speaking to" in the first seven stanzas of "Still I Rise"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The speaker is addressing her remarks to those white racists and bigots who've kept down black people for centuries. Such individuals have used a number of strategies to this end, from willfully distorting history to using hateful, offensive words designed to wound and hurt.

The speaker's response to centuries of oppression is one of defiance; she's not going to tolerate the continued denigration of her race. On the contrary, she's going to affirm her identity as an African American woman in the face of racial hatred, making her oppressor aware in no uncertain terms that, whatever he says and whatever he does, she will remain strong. She refuses to be broken by oppression, to go around with bowed head and lowered eyes. Instead, she'll rise and keep on rising.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team