A Comparison of ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou and ‘No Problem’ by Benjamin Zephaniah

A Comparison of ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou and ‘No Problem’ by Benjamin Zephaniah

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Maya Angelou is a internationally respected, brilliant poet, and author. Maya Angelou says "In all my work I try to tell the human truth, what it is like to be human, what makes us stumble and somehow miraculously rise and go on from the darkness and into the light”. This theme is consistently exemplified throughout Angelou's greatly acclaimed poem ‘Still I rise’. The poem shows us the true life story of Maya Angelou's tragedies, and their dreadful conditions she had encountered in her youth. But in Angelou's poem, she escapes the night to go into the light, leaving all the hurt and shame to prosper in a new life she has created.
Benjamin Zephaniah is a Jamaican author and poet. Who was born in Birmingham England, He grew up in east London. His previous experiences from being a victim of racial discrimination and prejudice and being a teenage rebel, involved in theft and drug crimes gave him a stimulus to write the poem ‘No problem’. The author himself having been discriminated upon is trying to show us that he is not the problem but however the problem is in general.
The situation, viewpoint and meaning.
Maya Angelou describes the situation, feelings and descriptions of a person (probably herself) who does not need people to try and lift her up. Maya shows us within the poem that all those oppressed in general are strong. Within the poem we are shown some of the feelings and thoughts people have displayed against her, but in reality she won’t let them get her down. Maya’s moral opulence allows her to rise above where her ancestors fell to slavery; carrying herself as a strong woman. Her ancestors dream was to have a life in society without the fear of what might happen to them (slavery). The author herself is portrayed in the...


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...t like hopes springing high’ this suggests the simile of nature which is used to describe oppression which also tells us that oppression will not last forever. Benjamin Zephaniah on the other hand uses a strange west indies accent, he uses patois (Jamaican slang) combined with phonetic spellings to tell us about his experiences “I am not de problem but I bear de brunt” he is showing us that he is not the problem but he has to bear the burden of being called the problem. Benjamin Zephaniah is creating this image where he is being put down, he is showing us that racism is still an on -going issue.
Structure, mood and atmosphere
Maya Angelou’s poem is structured in a quatrain format. The first few paragraphs are set out in such a way that it explains to us why she is rising; the poem compromises of a stanza of four lines, each of the same length.
Personal response

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