Still I Rise Characters

The main characters in "Still I Rise" are the speaker and the speaker's oppressors.

  • The speaker is a confident Black woman who asserts that no matter what her oppressors do, she will continue to live her life happily and with no regard for them. Even if they dismiss her in the history books, she knows her own strength and worth.
  • The speaker's oppressors are those who attempt to diminish her confidence and worth, represented by White society at large. She does not wish them harm, instead emphasizing that their attempts to hurt her and keep her down will be unsuccessful.

Characters

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Last Updated on July 22, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 402

The Speaker

The main character in this poem is the speaker herself. She is a Black woman whose fierce sense of confidence may intimidate or even anger other people, especially anyone who does not see her as valuable and worthy of high self-esteem. She speaks to her audience, addressing them directly and boldly. No matter what White people decide to record about her in history books, the speaker knows that she will not be defined by lies. She says that she walks as though she has oil wells in her living room; she walks like a woman who feels wealthy because of her own assurance and strength.

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She compares herself to the moon, the sun, and the tides because, like these aspects of nature, she cannot be degraded by cruelty: the speaker is independent of this oppression and, like the sun, untouchable. Some may want to see her “broken” and weak, but she says that regardless of this, she is still able to laugh as though her backyard is filled with gold mines. She knows her worth, even if her audience does not.

Even if her oppressors “kill” her with “hatefulness,” the speaker insists that she will persevere. Despite the painful past that she and other Black people were forced to endure, she claims to be a "black ocean,” which can be likened to something...

(The entire section contains 402 words.)

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