skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » , » Phenomenal Woman Summary and Analysis by Maya Angelou

The 1994 poem "Phenomenal Woman" was written by American poet Maya Angelou (1928–2014). Angelou was a vocalist, artist, writer, entertainer, educator, memoirist, and writer: a woman with numerous skills. Additionally, she was a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement. "Phenomenal Woman" is a great illustration of her work's emphasis on perseverance in the face of adversity.

She celebrates her own self-assurance and appeal, which make her a remarkable woman, in the poem. Before moving on to the following summary and analysis of Maya Angelou's poem, you can read "Phenomenal Woman" here.

Phenomenal Woman Summary

The poem by Maya Angelou consists of five stanzas. In the main refrain, Angelou's speaker lets us know that she isn't routinely appealing like a style model, however when expectedly pretty ladies ask her what her mystery is to be so sure and solid, she lets them know that her prosperity comes from the compass of her arms, the range of her hips, the length of her step, and the twist of her lips: putting it another way, the self-assured demeanor and demeanor she exudes.

This makes her a marvelous lady: powerful and striking.

The speaker of the poem describes, in the second stanza, walking casually into a room and how her mere presence causes all of the men present to rise to their feet in reverence for her or even to bow down in humility. Then, like male bees swarming around their queen bee, these men approach her, each wanting to be close to her.

Why? Because she can swing her waist in a sassy and alluring manner and has passion in her eyes and smile. The manner in which she strolls gently with delight in her step likewise attracts men to her, since she's a wonderful lady. This is reiterated in the third stanza: She is a remarkable individual.

The topic of men and the influence that Angelou's speaker has on them is brought back up in the poem's fourth stanza. Men admit that they are perplexed by their attraction to her and struggle to explain it because of her deep inner "mystery."

They continue to assert that they do not comprehend, despite her efforts to explain the mystery to them. So she tells them that the way she arches her back, the way her smile is radiant, the shape of her breasts, and her graceful and elegant style in everything she does is what makes her attractive. She is the amazing woman she is because of these qualities.

The poem's final stanza turns to her readers, who are implied to be other women, particularly Black American women. They should now understand why she walks with her head held high, the speaker explains. She won't be noticed if she brags about herself.

They ought to feel proud when other women pass them. Because she is a phenomenal woman, her success can be seen in the click of her heels, the bend in her hair, and the palm of her hand. She also takes care of herself and demands that others treat her with care and respect.

Phenomenal Woman Analysis

In an interview with Claudia Tate, an African-American critic, Maya Angelou said that her entire body of work is meant to say, "You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated." To put it another way, one of the most important lessons that can be learned from Angelou's writing is the importance of resilience—the ability to persevere despite obstacles and failure.

The movie "Phenomenal Woman" is a good illustration. Despite the fact that much of Angelou's writing was based on her own experiences, it would appear that she was writing to all women, particularly Black women like herself who had to overcome prejudice and discrimination.

This is made clear in the final stanza, where she tells her (implied) readers, fellow Black women, that when they see her, they should feel "proud" because she represents their struggles as well. Because she was both a woman and an African-American, Angelou had to deal with double discrimination and oppression. Her poem is about standing tall and refusing to be a victim.

In "Phenomenal Woman," these two pillars of her identity—her race and gender—are contrasted with their complementary opposites to bring them into sharp focus: those 'pretty ladies' who look like style models in the principal refrain (with this language may be proposing white ladies most importantly.

At the point when Angelou was composing, People of color were still underrepresented in the design business) and those men who fall at her feet in the second. In the event that white individuals and men normally have the high ground, Angelou suggests, she can show them some things.

And attitude, swagger, and self-assurance are the keys to her success. She is proud of herself, and has sass, and charisma, all of which are exemplified (quite literally) by the physical details she describes in the poem's subsequent stanzas: her broad arm span, hip swing, and so on; her extended stride.

This does not negate the fact that "Phenomenal Woman" is also, in many ways, an autobiographical work. Angelou's childhood was filled with trauma, one of which caused her to lose her voice for five years. An important context for this poem and all of Angelou's work is the recovery of her female voice and her determination to "write for the Black voice and any ear which can hear it," as she later put it.

Due to the irregular lengths of the lines and stanzas in "Phenomenal Woman," it is tempting to interpret it as a poem written in free verse. However, due to the amount of rhyme in the poem, it is not truly free verse. The opening stanza, for instance, rhymes "lies" with "size" and uses "lies" twice at the ends of the first and fourth lines (though note how the meaning changes from "resides" to "untruths").

The word "hips" rhymes with "lips," and the word "phenomenally" rhymes with "me" throughout the poem. However, Angelou has more formal freedom than we find in more conventional poems due to the poem's irregular line lengths and lack of regular meter. The poem's various line lengths lend it a more informal, improvised feel, and the rhymes bring various aspects of the poem together (such as bringing her "hips" and "lips" together, as it were, as two essential parts of her appeal). This is consistent with the speaker's inference that she is independent and self-assured enough to choose her own path in life.

Phenomenal Woman


Post a Comment

Back To Top