I would like to analyze the poem "Still I Rise", by Maya Angelou. This is regarding my final year project which is a research project paper. So what could be the best thesis title related to this poem? As I am aware, this poem is about discrimination of black people and how to be strong enough so that they can overcome it. I would appreciate it if your team can help me out in this. Thank you. 

Expert Answers

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I’m not sure what you mean by “thesis title” because to me they are two different things.  The thesis is the main idea of the entire essay where a title is just a creative name that you give your essay.  Although they may be similar in content and idea, they are not the same; a title is much shorter than a thesis statement. 

If I was going to analyze “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, I would discuss her use of language and literary devices to get across the theme and main ideas of her poem.  I would analyze it for its tone and look for key words throughout the poem, like “sassiness”, that show the tone.  It is important to evaluate why she sets up a particular tone in the poem as well. 

In addition, I would discuss literary elements and devices such as figures of speech.  Throughout the poem, she uses metaphors to get across ideas of her worth.  For example, she understands her value as a person when she uses metaphors comparing her worth to oil fields, gold, and diamonds.  Look at all of the important figures of speech throughout the poem to analyze the poem for its deeper meaning.

Also, analyze her use of repetition with words and phrases like, “I rise”, to add emphasis and to get her message across.  In addition, investigate the connotations of words used when she describes the past and history of black Americans.  Words like, “bitter”, “trod”, “broken”, “bowed head”, etc.  have a negative connotation compared to her state of being in the poem.  Words like “sassiness”, “haughtiness”, “hopes springing high” are in direct opposition to Angelou’s description of the past. 

The allusions she makes to slavery, Africa, and other eras of history are another element of the poem you can analyze. 

To write a thesis, I would key on Angelou’s use of literary devices and elements to get across the main idea of the poem.  Figure out what that main idea is, and explain it through Angelou’s use of language.

For example, In “Still I Rise”, Maya Angelou uses language and literary devices to convey a message about _____(message)___________________ because/to show______(why she does it)________.

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