Maya Angelou

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I would like a detailed summary of the poem "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.   

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"The Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou is a poem written in free verse. The poem consists of five stanzas, with the first, second, fourth, and fifth ranging from 12 to 16 lines in length and the middle or third stanza consisting of two lines. The poem is narrated in the first person. Although the narrator proclaims herself to be a "phenomenal" woman, the fairly generic praise terms used in the poem give us no specific details of her age, social status, career, family situation, or race, although the emphasis on her attractiveness to men suggests that she accepts traditional gender roles and is heterosexual. Thus she is intended in some ways to represent "everywoman" or the universal possibilities of women of a certain character.

The term "phenomenal" is not used here in a technical philosophical sense but rather as an expression meaning a combination of outstanding, exceptional, and popular. In the 1970s when this poem was written, the term could also be used in a manner to similar to how the term "viral" is used now. 

The poem is an extended meditation on how the narrator manages to attract so much male attention. The first stanza starts out by suggesting that traditionally pretty women are jealous of her and don't understand how the narrator, lacking traditional cuteness and not looking like a fashion model, is nonetheless so compelling attractive. The second stanza describes how she affects and attracts men. The third stanza describes how men have difficulty understanding the source of her attractiveness and the fourth stanza describes the source of her pride and attractiveness in her inner strength or attitude. 


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