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Thesis (M.A.), 2018
18 Pages, Grade: 1.5
Significance of Study
Statement of the Problem
Delimitation of Research
Critical Review of Previous Work
Caged Bird Analysis
Phenomenal Woman Analysis
Still I Rise Analysis
Conclusion and Findings
In this research paper, the researcher has tried to find out the image of black female depicted in Maya Angelou's poems. This research has been conducted by qualitative and analytical method because this research has not numerical data. After collecting data, the researcher has analyzed poems and supported by particular idea of feminist Sara Mills. The researcher has chosen only three poems of Angelou from “The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou which are ‘Still I Rise’, ‘Phenomenal Woman’ and ‘Caged Bird’. This study has been conducted by the use of black feminism theory and also focused on words, lines and stanzas. This research gives rise to enhance the argument in literature studies particularly Black Feminism self-esteem. Thus, it can enable others to organize research on African-American females. The analysis has explained that black woman’s different images are depicted in Maya Angelou's poems. In the first poem ‘Still I Rise’, Maya Angelou presents black female as a leader of the movement and challenges the society arrangement about black people. In the second poem, ‘Phenomenal Woman’, Maya Angelou describes a standard of beauty that beauty is not having beautiful face and slim smart body and thin lip. She says that a black woman can be phenomenal woman through her confidence and good personality and proud herself being black woman. In last poem ‘Caged Bird’, Maya Angelou shows underdevelopment of black woman due to tradition. As a coloured woman Maya Angelou raises her voice and says that soon, black people will be free. The present research concludes that author is presenting theme of hope in all above poems and she is a courageous black woman.
Keywords: black feminism, Maya Angelou, identity and coloured women
Poetics word derives from the Greek word poietikos which means pertaining to poetry, creative, productive. Poetics is defined as a systematic way of studying literature. Theory of literary discourse and foam is called poetics. It can be referred specially to the theory of poetry although some speakers misuse the term so often that the concept of the theory is itself denoted (Gerard, 2005, p.14). The study of poetry by analyzing constitutive part of poetry and after analyzing describe the general conclusion (Aristotle, p.375 - 378). Poetics basically discuss the tragedy and epic poetry.
The word feminism is derived from 'feminisme' that is taken from Latin word 'femina' which means woman. The aim and belief of feminism is to provide or talk about the equal power, rights and opportunity as men have. It is fundamentally a movement of supporting women in which supporters speak, write and act on women's issues for the development. Feminism has numerous types that present the effort of women for survival in the world. They speak on the behalf of women of the world that are exploited by men dominant society (Asseffie, 2012). Feminism continues the division of feminist on the behalf of nationality, religion and race. White feminist focuses on the problem of white women and they neglect the effort of women of black colour like "African-American" women (Dreserova, 2006). Effort of black women for her right is rejected to advocate by white women ( Izgarjan & Markoz, 2014). When Black scholar got knowledge about the reality, they created a movement that is called "Black Feminist movement".
Black feminism is a type of feminism which discusses the struggle of black women. Black feminism refers that racism, class oppression and sexism are completely bound together (Collins, 2000). Sometimes this includes other women of different colour. Black women have a double disadvantage; first disadvantage is that they are black meaning they are susceptible to racial discrimination and the other disadvantage is that they are females, meaning they are also susceptible to abuse or exploitation from men (Collins 2015). Black women have experienced double oppression and segregation due to black race and sex. They required extra power to make progress from weird and harsh situations regarding white men dominant society. That is why black women protesters or advocates say womanism and feminism are totally different terms. This is known as intersectionality which discussed the class, gender and race (Crenshaw, 2017). It can be found in some other ideologies. Black feminism was particularly popular in the United States, which has a dark past of racial discrimination and so explains the focus upon racial factors. Blacks are a minority in the US and racism is a key aspect of black feminism.
Narrative is called a representation of genuine report, imaginary report in a written order or spoken words or tranquil or moving image or both (Sandberg, 2016). It can be organized a number of formal categories or thematic categories like proper fiction, non-fiction and historical events or fictionalize. Narrative is also defined as imaginary or fictional writing in theoretical approach of literature in which the narrator in a straight line communicate to reader. And the reader thinks that he/she is the part of the story. Narrative or story telling is deep rooted practiced in African-American culture (Amoah, 2013).
Poetics of black feministic narrative means that how suffering of black women affect writing, reading, and the functions of text in society. America is a moderated country which always talks about the equality and freedom. In which every people can live without perceiving any gender, social and racial discrimination. But, in reality people of this country are experiencing the gender discrimination, race biasness, nationality prejudice, sexual unfairness and ethnicity (Soelistyo & Krisna, 2013). Race discrimination toward black people became one of the most concerns in America. It is supposed that race discrimination is linked to “Slavery Period” that is presented in American history. That started in 1600’s with transport of Africans as salves in America (Hallam, 2004). They worked as house maid and uneducated worker for White people. They called Negro or African-American because they have families in America and worked as lower position like their parents due to lack of education because White people degrade and differentiate them ideologically and physically. No doubt, rulers of America tried their best to finish the slavery and discrimination toward African-American people but it cannot finish yet because black people are still facing the race discrimination issue especially black women because they have lower quality of life and low salary as compares to black men. And today many poems are found on segregation and discrimination that shares their suffering of separate condition.
Literature is a beautiful literary work which comes from human life. Experience the world through imagination is way of literature (Jones,1968). Poetry is a literary work which makes it different from another literary work of literature because it is the mind or idea of poet which flows a media to press felling, thought and perception (Shumaker, 1965). The researcher chooses poetry to analyze literary study, because it is full of imaginative entertaining literary work.
Maya Angelou is an African-American novelist, civil rights activist, poet, educator, dramatist, actress, producer, filmmaker, historian, dancer and most famous & influential voices of America. Maya Angelou wrote number of poems on injustice and biased behavior for African-American in USA. While mostly poems talk about the issue of individuality, racism and gender discrimination. Angelou was the woman who used approach of feminism in her poems that expresses the racial segregation and discrimination and male dominancy. This is the reason research used to analyze the Maya Angelou's poetry.
This research gives rise to enhance the argument in literature studies particularly, Black Feminism self-esteem. Thus, it can enable others to organize research on African-American females.
Gender and race discrimination is the most influential and integral part of literature. There is little work done on poetics of black feministic narrative in English narrative especially on Maya Angelou's work. It is a huge concern in discrimination toward black people specially females in America. It denotes the most critical influence on society. Postmodern work of American poet Maya Angelou highlights the black feminism of her community in a way to ensure it as affection female.
In a manner comforting with the problem of the study, the objective of the study is to explore black woman image depicted by Maya Angelou in her poems.
The present research attempts to answer the following question
How has black woman image been depicted by Maya Angelou in her poems?
Black feministic narrative represented by Maya Angelou through poems in which she describes the suffering of black females from society. The present research is delimited to only three poems of Maya Angelou: ‘Phenomenal Woman’, ‘Caged Bird’ and ‘Still I Rise’.
Gerard (2005) in "Essays in Aesthetics" gives a definition of poetics that theory of literary discourse and foam is called poetics. It can be referred specially to the theory of poetry although some speakers misuse the term so often that the concept of the theory is itself denoted. Aristotle in his book "The Poetics" defines that poetics is the study of poetry which analyze basic part of poetry and after analyzing describes the common conclusion. Poetics basically discuss the tragedy and epic poetry.
Asseffie (2012) in "Experiences of Marginalized Women: I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings in Focus" defines, black feminism is fundamentally a movement of supporting women in which supporters speak, write and act on women's issues for the development. Feminism has numerous types that present the effort of women for survival in the world. They speak on the behalf of women of the world that are exploited by men dominant society. Feminism continues the division of feminist on the behalf of nationality, religion and race.
According to Dreserova (2006) in his book "Canary Petunias in Bloom: Black Feminism in Poetry of Alice Walker and Rita Dove" explains that White feminists just focus on the white women issue and they neglect the effort of women of black colour like "African-American" women. In addition Izgarjan & Markoz (2014) in "Alice Walkr's Womanism: Perspectives Past and Present" says that Effort of black women for her right is rejected to advocate by white women. After getting knowledge about the reality, they created a movement that is called "Black Feminist movement".
Collins (2000) in "Black feminist thought: Knowledge and the politic of empowerment" defines Black feminism is a type of feminism which discusses the struggle of black women. "Black feminism" refers that racism, class oppression and sexism are completely bound together (Collins, 2000). Sometimes this includes other women of different colour. Black women have a double disadvantage; first disadvantage is that they are black meaning they are susceptible to racial discrimination and the other disadvantage is that they are females, meaning they are also susceptible to abuse or exploitation from men (Collins 2015). Black women have experienced double oppression and segregation due to black race and sex. They required extra power to make progress from weird and harsh situations regarding white men dominant society. That is why black women protesters or advocates say “womanism and feminism” are totally different terms. Collins (2000) explains that the very first name of black movement was [black feminism] but many black feminist do not agree to term "feminist" because according to them, "feminism" term is restricted for females of white colour not for coloured females. They mention the term womanist and believe that this term refer "black women" or coloured females who violently effort from discrimination and oppression.
This section of the study explains and analyzes the works already done chronologically. Praseedha (2010) explains the depiction of women as less important and low-graded to men and white women. He opines that poems of Angelou, tells us the stories of suffering and race discrimination and unnecessary insult. Maya Angelou, uses religion, struggle, and reproduction to defeat multiple memories of the most brutal organizations of America. The trade of slave and its humiliating effects on the people of the community is narrated through her life.
Naderi (2013) opines that Maya Angelou highlights the voice of black woman and explicit the critique and injustice and discrimination through Maya Angelou's poem. Naderi also explains that Angelou tries to celebrate the concept or idea of uniqueness and beauty of black subject and efforts to explain the black female survival against white men prejudice at social and psychological level.
Paramita (2012) is of the view that black females in the poems of Angelou are very confident because they proud about their look, accept their physical features and makes it their positive point and represents themselves as confident and strong women. Angelou represents idea of sexuality of black females that is completely opposite the idea of her young age.
EstaBem (2013) defines the concept of a wild woman for Angelou because she defines through her poetry the prejudice of gender and race and inequalities of societies for black females that a white female cannot understand. Angelou does not accept society rules and struggles against the sexism and racism.
Pelayo (2017) opines that Angelou is an honest lady because at that time females are afraid of telling truth but Angelou in her autobiography explains black women situation during twentieth century through poetry. She explains black women role in society and difficulty to fight for their rights.
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