"Phenomenal Woman" is a poem written by Maya Angelou, an American poet, author, and civil rights activist. The poem is a celebration of femininity and the power of women. It is a tribute to all women, regardless of their appearance or social status, and encourages them to embrace their inner strength and beauty.
The poem begins with the speaker declaring that she is a "phenomenal woman," a woman who is confident, self-assured, and proud of her femininity. She describes how men are attracted to her, not because of her physical appearance, but because of the way she carries herself. She speaks of her "inner mystery," which she keeps hidden from the world, and her "inner glow," which radiates from within.
The speaker then goes on to describe the various ways in which she is "phenomenal," listing a number of positive attributes and qualities that she possesses. She is strong and self-sufficient, capable of handling any challenge that comes her way. She is intelligent and wise, with a deep understanding of the world and the people around her. She is compassionate and caring, always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Despite these qualities, the speaker is aware that society often judges women based on their looks, and that many people may not see her true worth. However, she is not discouraged by this, and instead embraces her uniqueness and stands proud in her own skin. She knows that she is a "phenomenal woman," and that is all that matters.
In conclusion, "Phenomenal Woman" is a powerful and inspiring poem that celebrates the strength and beauty of women. It encourages women to embrace their femininity and to be proud of who they are, despite the judgments and expectations of society. It is a reminder that every woman has her own unique qualities and abilities, and that these are what make her truly phenomenal.
Summary and Analysis of Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou: 2022
The poem argues the traditional outlooks and apprehensions of femininity, establishing at the same time that beauty is not only skin deep. Unlike other women who shout and jump about and have to talk aloud to register their presence before men, the poet has a quiet way of going about. Throughout her life Angelou actively participated in Phenomenal Woman: Line by line Explanation Stanza One: Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. Genre Confident, in that the speaker is certain of her worth and beauty as a phenomenal woman. It elicits womanliness and its invincible pride in a simple yet powerful way. It is in the grace of her style; the lissomeness of her form.
American market constructs their own standard of beauty which only celebrates fair colour, sharp features and blue eyes. They have an enticing trait in them. Thus phenomenal woman means an extraordinary or stunning woman. She does not need to talk aloud or to jump here n there to get attention. The speaker convinces us readers that the source of her mystique lies in her self-confident attitude. Men themselves are unsure why they are so helplessly attracted towards her. She is sweet like honey, and she is also powerful like a queen bee commanding the attention of the other bees.
She evokes her phenomenal qualities again and again. It is a part of the discourse on self-acceptance. Alliteration: The repetition of the consonant sounds at the beginning of words is called alliteration. The speaker does not fit the standard conventions of beauty and rejoices in her uniqueness. Men venture to understand her, but they cannot touch her inner mystery. They do not understand what it is about her that makes her so assertive. Although the poem has no apparent rhythm, the heavy use of repetition and assonance makes it sound rhythmic.
These four lines comprise the refrain that appears at the end of each stanza lines 10—13, 26—29, 42—45, and 57—60. There is joy in her feet. Angelou expressed one time in her interview that she has written this poem for every woman. Protagonist and Antagonist The speaker cannot make other women and men understand why she is special. Have you read these? She questions male power and finishes it off. After relating her persona in the earlier stanzas, the writer now expects the readers to understand why she walks with her head held high. They fail to comprehend what makes her beautiful, as they have been schooled in traditional definitions of beauty and charm and listen to societal and cultural stereotypes.
The speaker once again highlights both her physical characteristics and her confident attitude, repeating at the end her affirmation that she is indeed a phenomenal woman. All she has to do is be herself: a phenomenal woman. She lived a life full of sordid experiences. As an example of how this stanza structure plays out, consider the opening stanza. As Angelou is writing from her personal experience, she is actually describing what it feels like to be a phenomenal black woman.
This inability to decode the enigma makes them more vulnerable to the poet. The speaker has primed the reader for this conclusion throughout the first three stanzas. Whenever she would pass the pretty women, it will really make them feel proud of her because of the sound of her heels, the style of her hair, the palm of her hand and their desire to care for her a man desires to be caring for a woman. Her life as a Black woman was three times more oppressed, first as a Black person and furthermore as a woman and that also a Black woman. As she walks into a room all the men are attracted by her. Moreover, it is in the palm of her hand, the gentleness of her touch. Instead, she provides a number of arguments to prove that she is a Phenomenal Woman without such elements.
Phenomenal Woman Summary & Analysis By Maya Angelou • English Summary
Maya Angelou says that these traits of her body make her a phenomenal woman in her own way. GradeSaver, 11 April 2022 Web. Inner mystery probably refers to the inner beauty which is common to all the women and it makes any woman beautiful and charming irrespective of the color of her skin. GradeSaver, 11 April 2022 Web. Confidence, pride, and unwavering sexuality are some of the most powerful things anyone can have. It was subsequently published by Random House publication in a volume edited by Linda Sunshine and accompanying paintings by Paul Gaugin illustrating the poems, in the year 2000. Many years after its initial publication, the poem remains a powerful testament to female power and a message to all women to love themselves and show the world their pride in who they are.
Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou poem) Literary Elements
The poem is critically acclaimed and well received as a standalone piece by readers and critics alike and it brought Maya Angelou renown in the literary world. They become weak in the knees and want to be at her service. The speaker reveals that all of her recollections have led up to the present moment when she declares that she can be a phenomenal woman without trying to draw attention to herself or fitting stereotypes. Imagery:Two daunting images consolidate the upbeat mood of the poem. Phenomenal Woman: Form and structure The Poem is divided into four stanzas, each one starting with a scenario or a question, answering it and finally providing a justification for the same.
The poem can also be considered an attack on the Whites who consider themselves superior and discriminate against the people on the basis of their color. Here the inner mystery is something which for the poet is the secret of her beauty. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Women want to know what she does to make herself so beautiful. Like the pretty women, these men are constantly bombarded with images that construct a certain image of female beauty. Maya Angelou is often credited for the simplicity in the use of her language and the present verse is no exception. It is in the ride of her breast; in the way her bosom tardily falls and rises, signifying her dignity and elegance.
Phenomenal Woman Analysis By Maya Angelou • English Summary
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Angelou is essentially stating that people notice her because of her sexiness and not because of anything else. These are the qualities of hers that make her attractive for men to behold. Her nonchalance, her rejection of stereotype, her supreme air of confidence becomes a mystery which her male suitors cannot demystify. She does not care to fit into the mould of beauty that popular culture constructs.