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ENGLISH STUDIES

AFRICA BY MAYA ANGELOU

INTRODUCTION (0VERVIEW OF THE POEM)


This poem is a vivid portrayal of the rich history and beauty of Africa. The first stanza personifies Africa as a beautiful black woman with her sugarcane sweet, deserts her hair two Niles her tears, mountains her breast. All these are major icons/landmarks of Africa. The beauty of Africa is truly epitomized through the imagery used.

INTRODUCTION (0VERVIEW OF THE POEM)


In Stanza 2, we are given a vivid presentation of the violation towards the country. Phrases like brigand ungentle, icicle bold, took her young daughters, sold her strong sons paint an extremely harsh and cruel act againts this beautiful country. Maya Angelou has personified this country to be a woman and this could be an act of rape and violation towards women.

INTRODUCTION (0VERVIEW OF THE POEM)


Stanza 3 shows the restoration and the emergence of this country that was horribly violated. Moving past the pain, losses, remembering her worth, and her history that was once slain she is now striding. This portrays an image of rising up from the ashes of violence and brutality and standing tall and proud of the country that once was.

THEME (s)
A number of themes have emerged from this poem. In the first stanza we see a theme of beauty and appreciation of the country. Violation and brutality appears to be the underlying issue in stanza 2. Brigands ungentle, icicle bold, sold her strong sons, took her young daughters and churched her with Jesus portrays the colonization and the selling of young African men and women as slaves and the emergence of another religion.

THEME (s)
In Stanza 3, the theme of re-emergence and the gradual rising of a country that was beaten down. Now she is risingnow she is stridingher screams loud and vain.

LITERARY DEVICES
Imagery is used quite extensively throughout this poem. In Stanza 1, the description used to portray the country. The other device used is personification she has lain.. her screams loud and vain now she is striding Africa is personified as a strong black woman.

POEM FORM AND STRUCTURE


This poem is divided into 3 stanzas. This poem is written in a loose and free form. In stanza 1, there are 8 lines but in stanza 2, 9 lines and in stanza 3, back to 8 lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abcbdeae.

TUTORIAL QUESTIONS/POSSIBLE ANSWERS


1. The poet 2. Pride/Admiration 3. Anger/Fear

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