Everybody has a dream of living a great life, but the society in which we live creates constant obstacles that prevent the human being from achieving what they truly desire with ease. Struggles are here to stay, and the moment one accepts and view life as positive and worth the battle, then ones best human spirit is uplifted and rejuvenated. Both men and women are subjected to constant struggle; however, the woman has historically been subjected oppression, inequality, and discrimination leaving her inferior. The patriarchal society cannot be blamed to the constant life struggle, but the images of conflict are common among both the men and women (Louise, 57). The world has its dynamic ways of setting human being to a life of consent struggle, and it is only through a person positive think and an undying will to survive that one rise above. Life is a staircase and experience is never crystal clear, however; we must all arise. The text Still I Rise, By Maya Angelou, Mother to Son by Langston Hughes, Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe have well illustrated the theme of struggle, according to the three text struggle influence liberation, and influences character.
To evaluate the theme of struggle in broad I will use formalism theory. Formalism does not define a text good or bad but rather examine the natural features in a literature text (Hall 23). The document requires being analyzed on its own without considering the outside influence. Formalism treats each material different with unique function, although it is challenged by critics who view literature as a product of social and historical events. Formalism critiques are similar to new criticism and structuralism (Lemon, 32). Using formalist critic in a text one considers factors such as style, structure, imagery, and tone among other features which are all within a text.
This paper is essential to students and literary scholars as it helps identify, illustrate and define how different writers incorporate different skills and styles in the various text. The issue of struggle will be examined in this case. The authors of varying poems have different intentions when writing a text, and for an individual to identify the intended meaning and message author features in any work, it is essential to learn how to interpret the character, tone, the imagery, the repetition among other styles. Use of literary techniques subject by a writer to a text, in this case, will help educate learners how text are interpreted and also play in assisting learners to understand the world around them beyond the text and enhance their decision making.
Struggle and Character Presentation
Every character in each text is presented differently. However, there is a common theme of struggle in all the characters in the poem portrayed. And Still I Rise by Maya Angelo feature a female character who is black American. A character who for long time have endured oppression as a woman in a patriarchal society and an as a woman born during slavery and an era of spirited racism. This image is created from the figurative language and imagery used in the text. It is said that the world is a world of men and the woman role and input in the society is likely never to go recognized. For a long time, the woman has been subjected to the difficult decision made by men and her position has been diminished to baby and house making. No one for a long time has allowed a woman to shine and this is one of the reasons why the character Maya in the text bitterly condemn the inferiority of a woman in the society raised by man. She points out this by stating You may tread me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise (Angelou). The character uses this figurative language to show the struggles the women are subjected to as dirt but through the constant battle without giving up, the speaker hopes one day women will rise above just like dust. This is an empowering character to women and feminist activist.
Despite being a women, Maya Angelo is a black American woman born during an era of slavery. The women of this period were subjected to patriarchy lines and the white masters oppression, they were double oppressed and victimized in multiple ways. Maya question the longtime black women oppressors why they resent her sassiness (Angelou). She speaks on behalf of her other black people and her ancestors. In the poem, she quotes, I am black ocean (Angelou) this is an imagery black is characterize as evil or fear. Therefore, she distinguished herself to be in a pool of despair and cruelty as a black American woman. Historically, the black women were subjected to both slavery and male oppression the black ocean is an excellent imagery to showcase the intensity of the cruelty.
Her tone in the text is assertive and bold, and it's obvious every time he speaks you can feel her pain and her undying will to suppress oppression. In the first stanza, she states you can write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies (Angelou) a clear indication of how the oppressive regime during the slavery era mispresented the needs of the black people Cookson, (Sandra, et al., 76). The speaker portrays that life is a constant struggle and even though one may be trod in the dirt an imagery used to present disrespect and violence, one day just like dust. The speaker is hopeful the dust will rise (Angelou) dust is an imagery used in meaning something positive will rise from what has for a long time been trolled and diminished.
In mother to son, the theme of struggle is a powerful illustrated. The mother who speaks throughout the poem illustrate her eternal struggles in life, she tells her son life has not been crystal of stairs (Hughes). The mother throughout the text has a series of advice to her son, and the whole idea of the text is to convey hope and encouragement. Based on the theme of advice passed from mother to the son, it is a clear indicator the character has had a challenging life. The mother is worried that her son might go through the same struggles she endured and fail, she is threfore, determined to ensure that her coming generation survive the fight without failure, and all she offers was a piece of advice.
The speaker acknowledged the fact that she has grieved, she has been painfully stretched and has come in touch with ruthless truth of life. Despite all the hardship and the pain in life, she learned not to run, and she tells her son do not turn your back dont you set down on the steps (Hughes). From the mother's advice, it is obvious she has seen the son also struggle and she runs to her rescue by reminding his life will not always to a straight line. She used her own life to illustrate the struggle likely to come along but what matters most is the fact that she keeps holding on for tomorrow For me's still going, honey, I've still climbed (Hughes). The tone of the speaker is grim but yet determined. The speaker talks her son with a lot of determination she is also persuasive in her mood. She does not want her son to fail under her watch, but instead, she is happy to see her son continue climbing.
In Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe, Edger the main character gives accounts of his frustrating life. He recounts of life that has been good but eventually turned sour. The speaker has been through turns of hardship from loss of a father who left when he was young and the loose of a mother who died when he was still young living him orphaned. The speaker has nothing but sorrow, all his life he has experienced the death of all people he loved. He married a wife at 13yearrs, but the wife died leaving him miserable. The character edger is portrayed psychologically incapacitated because of the great life struggles he has encountered which have left him broken. He blames nature for envying what he and his lover had to the extent that they took away her form him. He figuratively states The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, Went envying her and me yes! That was the reason that the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee (Poe). Life for the three character is portrayed as miserable. Each character is a victim of bitter life waters, and each character is symbolically used to present struggle and desire for a better life, but failure lies close beneath.
A counterargument arises to defy that struggle defines peoples characters. People believe one's character is determined by the societies we live, culture, norms, and values set an individual style. However, according to the text, the constant struggle in life define our characters but not culture.
Struggle and Desire for Freedom
No one is comfortable in his or her current position every person want to do better and become a better person. Struggles create desire, and it is those desire that motivates human beings to keep fighting through despite them having a more relaxed option of giving up. And still I rise is a tittle that that display the speaker positive intention and desire for liberty. The title also generates a theme of power to become better, the title itself sells a feeling of freedom. Despite the fact that struggles come along, there is always room to do better room to rise. The title in Maya Angelo work and still I rise give a powerful motivation to all its readers of doing good it creates a feeling of pride, despite all the rough patches an individual encounters. The speaker used the imagery of gold and diamond to present her worth as a free woman. We all know the speaker is poor and broken, but she figuratively equates her remaining happiness to gold Because I laugh like Ive got gold mines Digging in my back yard (Angelou). The speaker desire to be happy and despite all the struggles, she still finds a glimpse of happiness. You may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, Ill rise (Angelou). It does not matter how much dirt one is dragged through and the struggles encountered, but the undying zeal to see another day remain held precious as it marks the beginning of liberation.
Freedom is the ultimate goal for all people especial the women who for a long time have lived in the shadows of men. "And Still, I rise" motivates women to free themselves from the jaws of patriarchy. It does not matter what women lose in the journey to freedom as long as they are liberated. To be free, it is necessary first to free our thinking. She uses repetition I rise in the entire poem provoking emotions of power. The poem is directed towards persons who are oppressed. The authors use her ability to write as a tool for liberations, from the way the poem is written both the oppressor and the oppressed are portrayed to have power, and therefore the writer intends to pass the message that, those who need to be liberated they must first free their minds. If black women want to be free, they must be ready to challenge their oppressors thinking.
The speaker stands not afraid of the humiliation she is likely to encounter in her journey to freedom. She has endured every worst case to the extent that she finds humor in her past failures and struggles. Throughout the text, the speaker tasks of the bitter incidences of racism and sexism but what is intriguing is her desire to spring out of history. She uses her work to convey a message of hope to people of her kind am the dream and the hope of the slave (Angelou). women one day will rise and rule the world, equality will one day prevail a and male dominance will be outdated. The speakers have also used repetition whereby, she constantly repeat I rise a constant reminder of his dream and desire which she hopes to achieve.
In the text mother to son the speaker acknowledges the harsh life she endured as a mother. She acknowledges of times she did not know of her future as she quotes And sometimes going in the dark...
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