Angelou’s poems speak to teenagers
April 25, 2012 • Kelli Tachdjian '14
Filed under Reviews
Self-confidence is essential when you’re a teenager, even as an adult. Without it, you are putty in the world’s hands. It’s hard to describe and explain. You kind of have it or you don’t. But you can gain self-confidence. Maya Angelou talks about self-confidence indirectly in the poems “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise.”
In “Phenomenal Woman,” Angelou mentions her flaws: “I’m not cute or built to suit a model’s fashion size.” Through the poem, she says how she is a phenomenal woman, but not in a cocky way or sounding like a valley girl. She says it modestly as if she is stating a fact. She has self-confidence, and you can really see it shine through this poem. She says everything with her head up and doesn’t care what people think of her. If she likes it, then she is happy. We aren’t created to please everyone. She may look differently, but she acts the same way everyone else does: “I walk into a room just as cool as you please.”
In Maya Angelou’s other poem, “Still I Rise,” she also talks about self-confidence. She also talks about the effects of being bullied. It’s as if she ask the bully: “Do you want to see me broken?” Or she may be talking as a child who doesn’t know what self-confidence is. Or, the kid could just not have any self-confidence. In the poem, she repeats “I rise” at the end, and that sends a great message to everyone that reads or listens to the poem.
Maya Angelou really sends a clear message, not only to the people who read her poem, but the people who see the people who have read her poem and see them reacting to it. It sends a message to teens that are going through a rough period in their lives. If you have self-confidence, then people will start to notice and like you more.