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By Emily, Petra, Phoebe and Zoe
As oceans are calm but can be extremely powerful and strong, Angelou is making a comparison to herself and the ambiguity of the ocean.
The ocean makes up the majority of the world relating to how all humans come from Africa. The ocean lays down how the foundation of the world, as did the first humans in Africa.
By using the term leaping as opposed to smaller actions such as jumping, Angelou is highlighting how strong and powerful she is.
I m a black ocean, leaping and wide.
By using the term black which is a politically correct term in a time when people would use negro, it shows that Angelou is challenging society s impressions and views on African Americans. Instead of using a term that was given to them by their slaver, Angelou is emphasising the independence that African Americans are striving for from their oppressors.
The imagery of a black ocean reminds one of oil, which relates to the previous references to oil that Angelou makes in the poem. By saying she is a black ocean, Angelou is saying that she is valuable and worthy, which contradicts the racist white society of the 1920 s.
Relates to African American history and the biggest oppression of Africans ever.
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Relates to how although slaves had no rights, they still slept and dreamt of an emancipated future as something to be working towards.
Relates to the motivation for the slaves to keep resisting against their struggle for equality they are keeping the hope throughout the whole time.
Reader s Attitude
The metaphors give Angelou an authority, as she is self assured and confident. Because she is so sure of herself and proud of her race and her, personally, the reader becomes equally as confident as she provides no substance to doubt her upon.
The use of metaphor challenges stereotypes of African American women by Angelou saying that she is strong and capable as any other member of society. She is contradicting the racist views of African American women being lazy and uneducated by showing her persistence to change these views and prove to them that she is willing to fight for her equality. She is addressing the hatred that African Americans had to face and is defying it and saying that she, in fact, does not deserve to be degraded.
Why does Angelou use the term black ? How does Angelou using ocean relate to the poem?