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She is saying that even though the oppressors may knock her down, she will rise back up and fight against them.Rather than saying something denotative such as “I resist oppression,” this use of literary symbolism makes the point she is trying to convey more potent.In the poem, the discusses the debilitating effects of the oppression of African Americans.
Maya Angelou, who died today at the age of 86, was a writer, a leader, a courageous social activist, a usurper of cultural norms, and a challenger of prejudice; but, above all, she was a poet, famously in love with words. Louis, Maya Angelou grew up with segregation, and her writing captured the malaise of the Jim Crow south.Maya Angelou’s vivid use of imagery throughout her poem exemplifies the theme of resilience against oppression that is being conveyed.Specifically, the types of imagery she incorporates are metaphors and similes.The most effective simile that illustrates social activism in the poem is “Just like moons and like suns / Still I’ll rise” (lines 9,12).Similar to how the moon and sun rises every day and every night, Angelou is saying that she will continue to rise up again and again against the oppression.African American writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is just one example of a poet that has had a lasting impression on American literature (biography.com).Her famous poem “Still I Rise” is a particularly powerful piece that everyone should read at least once in their lives.Another utilization of symbolism in the poem can be found in the lines “Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells / Pumping in my living room” (lines 7, 8).Oil is a very precious and valuable nonrenewable resource.If Angelou literally had oil wells pumping in her living room, she would be a very lucky, proud, and rich woman. ’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.By making this statement, it is intended for it to symbolize the confidence she has in herself despite the oppressive circumstances that she has endured. You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise.