What is the summary and significance of the title of Maya Angelou's poem "The Lie"?

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In the poem "The Lie," Maya Angelou, in the persona of a female narrator, expresses her emotions about the departure of her lover. The poem begins abruptly with a question: "Who would have thought that I could be so enraged?" (line 1). Her words are filled with rage and anger at her lover's announcement that he is leaving. She describes how she feels as if she had been stabbed or shot (line 2). The narrator also compares herself to an animal in a cage who has been fed lies and now roams free (lines 3-4). In the second part of the poem, Angelou changes her tone.

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Maya Angelou's poem "The Lie" is told in the perspective of the poet, or a fictional woman, who is told by her lover that he is going to leave her. The majority of the short poem is Angelou, or the fictional narrator, calling the lover's bluff. She uses poetic language—metaphors and symbolism—to express her anger that is intense yet restrained. She vividly and violently eviscerates her lover, depicting her barely-contained volatile thoughts and emotions as physical weapons that would tear him apart.

The second part of the poem is a single lyric stanza that humorously shows the narrator unfazed by her lover's threats of leaving. She even tells him that she has a date with a new man and that she would help her soon-to-be ex-lover pack up his things.

The title is significant because the first half of the poem contradicts the second half. In the latter, she pretends to not care about her boyfriend's departure, but in the first half of the poem, it is blatant that her emotions about the situation are intense. Therefore, Angelou herself admits in the title that what was articulated in the poem was a lie in order to preserve her ego.

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