In this poem, Maya Angelou celebrates femininity by playing upon the two possible meanings that could be attached to the poem’s title – Phenomenal Woman. As a liberated woman, the speaker in the poem proudly proclaims her individuality; she is an extraordinary person, and therefore phenomenal.
Phenomenal – from Angelou’s Perspective: Maya Angelou asks the reader to probe deeper into the whole question of what makes a woman attractive, worthwhile and valued. The “Phenomenal” in the ordinary sense of the term relates to all data that can be perceived by the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.However, Maya Angelou takes the reader into the specific and much higher qualities that are attributes of “Phenomenal” – they are: intangible qualities like a soul, a mind, and a temperament. Women have spent hours making over their appearances for centuries.
But phenomenal woman, by her very naturalness, is more alive and more sensual than her doll-like sisters. Men, however, are bewildered by her power to attract because they have forgotten what a real woman is like. Phenomenal Woman is breezy in flaunting her mystery.Unlike conventional “mysteriousness” which men assign to woman, the Phenomenal Woman does not depend on glamour, coquetry, tantrums, or capriciousness to intrigue men.
Her mystery is profound and real, especially since men and women do not understand her extraordinary, natural vitality. The Attitude of Men towards Phenomenal Woman: Phenomenal woman has men behaving in ways pretty woman can only dream of – they mill around her like bees around a honeycomb. Men are bowled over by her charm. Her conquests are effortless.
She is cool – a black English word to describe someone who is perfect, proud and in-charge of herself. Phenomenal woman’s physical charm expresses a wholly different female temperament. The fire in her eyes is a marker of passion, the flash of her teeth is a symbol of primitive and even savage energy. The swing of her waist and the motions of her feet suggest the celebrating notes of a jungle dance.
Characteristics of a Phenomenal Woman: The last stanza addresses the world. Phenomenal woman remains unconquered. She is not “subject” to anyone. She does not need to be agitationist, attention-seeking, or polemical.
Shouting, jumping and protesting loudly are entirely unnecessary for her. Phenomenal woman simply is. Phenomenal woman is in complete control of herself unlike insecure women who worry constantly about their appearance. Conclusion: In conclusion, Angelou states that, above all, phenomenal woman is self-defining.
The key-phrase upon which the entire poem revolves is the one which repeats itself in every stanza: “I say. ” Because she articulated herself, and does not allow others to define or describe her, she exists. Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman”, is a compelling form of art.Angelou tends to write about topics that are often disregarded and unexplored by others.
Her poem illustrates the love a woman has for herself even though she isn’t considered beautiful. The language and tone indicate that the speaker was abused. Her pride has risen from the torture and neglect she experienced. Instead of being ashamed and blaming herself, she has gained hope.
The scholarly essay by Kelly Holland Cecil analyzes the key concepts of the poem and notes Angelou’s inspiration and the general patterns that can be found throughout her poetry.Cecil notes the generalization of Angelou’s usage of personal experience and history, “Much of Angelou’s poetry, almost entirely short lyrics, expresses in strong, often jazzy rhythms, themes common to the life experiences of many American blacks – discrimination, exploitation, being on welfare. Other poems deal with social issues and problems which, though not unique to blacks, are explored from a black perspective. ” In my own analysis I discovered that Maya Angelou mostly writes from experience, and this poem falls perfectly in that category.
She faced constant discrimination as a woman, particularly an African American woman. She also thought that she was never terribly pretty. She allowed this dissatisfaction to grow, but when she became older she killed it with the sense of pride she gained. As a child, Angelou was sexually abused.
When she told her family about the terrible occurrence, the man was killed. She chose to remain silent for the next five years, because she believed that her words had killed the man. Her silence has taught her the power and capabilities that words possess, and she clearly evokes that notion in this poem.Though she was abused as a child, she has grown into a talented woman.
Kelly Cecil writes, “The persona in this poem is a strong, confident woman. Lyman B. Hagen states, ‘The woman described is easily matched to the author herself. Angelou is an imposing woman– at least six feet tall.
She has a strong personality and a compelling presence as defined in the poem’. ” This poem can closely relate to the pride she has found by loving herself regardless of what others think. The poem uses a repetitive pattern in each stanza. Angelou starts the stanza with a description of someone’s reaction to the woman as they notice her.
The reactions are all categorized by wonderment. They question why she is so happy and what others see in her. The stanzas continue by developing the persona. The person is described as a vivacious woman.
Kelly Cecil describes Angelou’s purpose for her descriptions by stating: “She uses such imagery so that the proud, confident persona can be better understood. ” The descriptions contribute to the way the person sees herself: as a beautiful woman. Each stanza ends with the same four lines. Cecil notes; “Maya Angelou uses repetition in this poem to stress certain phrases.
An example of this is ‘I’m a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That’s me’. ” They reassure the reader that the person described loves who is she by restating that she is a phenomenal woman. Angelou gives the feeling of a hidden frustration and anger at the men and women who question the subject’s self-confidence.
But overall Maya Angelou gives praise to the woman who loves herself. Morning Song : Sylvia Plath – Summary and Critical Analysis| This is one of Plath’s domestic poems, and not of her typical protest pome; but this poem also has her typical denseness of meaning like other poems.The occasion of the poem is the birth of her first child. The speaker is a woman who has just given birth to a child and is unable to feel as a mother is supposed to.
She has an aversion to the new-born instead of the so-called motherly passion! For some time she is not only unable to love the child but also dislikes it. But in a gradual progression of events, there comes a change. The motherly feelings are born in her, and what she looked upon as a ‘thing’ now arouses that strong love in her; she hears music and poetry in the cry of the child.This is a poem of the birth of the mother, for mother is defined by ‘motherhood’, not by giving birth.
The title of the poem hints at the morning song of a lover who laments the coming of the day and his having to go away from his beloved, but this poem moves from such lamentation (probably of a passing freedom on becoming a mother) towards morning in the positive sense of beginning of a new phase of life, and even the birth of a new poet along with the birth of a mother. If at all, there is the song of the child at the end of the poem.When Sylvia Plath wrote this unconventional poem of hers in February 1961, she had given birth to her daughter Frieda. The mother love is strangely absent in the beginning of the poem.
But the mother does move from a strange alienation to a kind of instinctively sweeping emotion, when she lives with the child for some time and when the child happens to breathe and cry; this probably happens after the intense labor pain is over, so that the mother could feel the love. In fact, “maternal feelings” do not automatically occur. Plath is honest to divulge (confess) her feelings of alienation and separation.In the last three stanzas, the emotional estrangement changes and she impulsively listens to the sound of her child as it sleeps.
The surreal images and comparisons are functional to emphasize the sense of oddity and alienation in the feelings of the mother. One striking surreal image that somehow supports the ‘thingness’ of the baby is that of its cry as “bald. Plath’s surreal images underline the feeling of strangeness. Plath’s images are convoluted and deliberately inexact.
In the third tercet, she suggests the tenuous relationship between mother and child, as between cloud and mirror.Fortunately, the material instincts eventually emerge in her. The new mother, listening to her child’s breath-in-sleep uses the image “a far sea moves in my ear” as if she were holding as shell to her ear and capturing the sounds of the ocean. The child’s delicate mouth-breath suggests something delicate and ponderous – new life and new possibilities.
The child enters the human world when the speaker perceives its attempts at language. with the clear vowels rise like balloons. The poem closes on this idea of the child making poetry by the natural and innate human sounds filled with emotion.Morning Song records how the speaker’s perception of her baby changes, her intimacy with her child grants her the vision of its animated being.
The theme in “Morning Song” is alienation and the process by which it is overcome. It deals with material instincts and its awakening. Plath avoids sentimentality in taking up the subject – of becoming a mother in a feathery way. A woman does not come to motherhood merely by given birth.
New behavior is learned. The being of the mother is as new as the being of the child. Even the speaker listening to the child’s sounds and getting fascinated is not self-willed or under her control.She follows her instinct: “only cry and I stumble from bed.
” Her child sings to her with a “morning song” and a bond is established with the help of language, the essentially human act. One secondary but important issue that the poem deals with is; can a woman be both mother and famous poet? In this, she is dealing with one of the major issues that faced women poets in the twentieth century. This poem answers her implied question. The joyous ending proclaims the arrival of both a new signer on the scene and a mother pound of her child’s vocal signals and message.