This essay will explore some of these elements and see how they add to the poem.
In stanza one, the speaker tells that even though those who discriminate against her, have written damning things in history; it matters not, because she knows the truth about herself and her ancestors. Therefore, she will continue to move forward and rise above the false allegations. In line two, assonance is used “bitter twisted” to describe the lies that have been written about the African-Americans. The harsh sounding “i’s” in the two words demonstrate how cruel these false stories were. So, when the speaker says “I’ll rise” at the end of the stanza, the liberating feeling is enhanced by the previous harsh sounding “bitter twisted”.
The most common form of figurative language found in the poem is the simile. For instance, in stanza three the speaker likens herself to the moon and the sun “Just like moons and like suns”. This simile reveals to us that the speaker constantly rises, again and again, no matter how she is oppressed and put down by others; for, the sun and moon rise each day and night, and so shall she. Just like nothing can prevent the sun and moon from rising, so nothing can prevent her from rising above her circumstances, causing her to provide the light of hope for others through her actions and words. In Stanza four, another simile is used in line three, “Shoulders falling down like teardrops”. This simile creates a vivid and emotional image of how sad and dejected racism and slavery can make a person, causing them to bow beneath the sorrow. Yet, the speaker tells her audience that this will not happen to her; for, she does not bow to anyone’s wishes, allowing them to make her weep. Various other similes appear in the poem which enhance the emotional quality of the poem and aid in creating evocative imagery, making the fact that the speaker can overcome all her hardships that more spectacular.
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