Explain if the main theme of "Still I Rise" could be considered a universal theme.

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Maya Angelou's impelling poem deals with the speaker's determination to proudly resist and overcome prejudice. Even though the poem specifically addresses racial and gender intolerance, its appeal and application is universal. The poem's universality lies in the speaker's affirmation of her pride for who she is, irrespective of the criticism, bias, and hatred she may face. The speaker proclaims a remarkable self-belief and the conviction that she will stand up against adversity.

The poem's mantra "I rise" is an apt declaration for all those in the world who are victims of narrow-minded bias and oppression, irrespective of their religion, culture, gender, race or creed. They must carry themselves with pride and not be intimidated by others' bigotry and intolerance.

The message is clear: All those who are being victimized should be strong in their resistance and must, above all else, believe in themselves. Angelou's use of the word "still" emphasizes the fact that such individuals, irrespective of the depth and breadth of the hardships they face, should stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are.

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I think the theme of strength is a universal one from Angelou's "Still I Rise."

The poem is written from an African- American woman's point of view.  This is enhanced with  direct references to "sexiness, "sassiness," "diamonds at the meeting of my thighs."  However, the poem's thematic power lies in its applicability.  Angelou's poem is forceful in how it depicts individuals who commit themselves to persevering and triumphing over an adversary that wishes to remove their voice. This can be seen in the closing of the first stanza.  Anyone who has been marginalized and commits themselves to be heard could utter the lines "You may trod me in the very dirt/ But still, like dust, I’ll rise."  This is where the poem's resilient theme is a universal one.

The refrain of "I rise" is applicable to oppressive situations.  Angelou is speaking about the internal power an individual possesses.  Her poem could be recited by a person in a domestically abusive relationship, vowing to escape.  A political dissident could speak such words against the authoritarian structure that seeks to silence them.  An adolescent who is being bullied could also voice such sentiments.  Angelou's poem is universal because it speaks for the underrepresented and the dispossessed, giving them a voice where it might have been once absent.

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