Analysis Of Maya Angelou 's Poem ' Woman Work ' Essay

Analysis Of Maya Angelou 's Poem ' Woman Work ' Essay

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Often times, it has been argued that men may work from sunrise to sunset but that a woman 's work is never done. During the 19th century, women were entitled by nature to the full time job of being housewives. Being a housewife meant having full responsibility of maintaining a home. This included caring for children, performing chores inside of the house and running errands outside of the house. Because of the extensive amount of work that women had to do during the day, they felt hopeless, tense, and in need of rest; after all, women were able to accomplish all of their duties. In the poem Woman Work, Maya Angelou uses literary devices to reveal how even when a woman is repressed she is powerful, diligent and independent. The poem is split into two parts, one which uses repetition, and the other uses personification and apostrophe. With the use of these devices it is demonstrated that a woman can strive regardless of resource deprivation. The devices used show a progression from hopelessness, struggle, strength, and satisfaction. The housewife presented in the poem proved to me that women could take on and handle more work than a man could.
In the first stanza of the poem, by using repetition, Angelou is reminding herself of what she has to do for the day before getting started. Angelou repeats the word “the” as she breathlessly, and without any commas, lists the chores that she must accomplish. “The clothes to mend / the food to shop / The baby to dry / The tots to dress” (1-14) The literary device used in this stanza allows the reader to feel the sense of overwhelm and tiredness that the housewife is feeling just by thinking about the chores she must do. The housewife appears to not have any help from an older human being as ...


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...e is feeling and what she is going through. The woman speaks to the elements of weather, she calls on them as if they were human beings. Through the use of powerful metaphors such as “blow me from here with your fiercest wind”, to the soothing “fall gently, snowflakes / Cover me with white cold icy kisses” the readers imagination is awakened. In this poem Angelou proves to the reader that woman work. She walks us through the housewife’s daily experience while reflecting to the audience exactly how a woman who does housework feels. In doing so, Angelou highlights the fact that the day begins with distress, knowing all the chores that must get done and goes on with struggle, but at the end of the day the tasks are completed. The poem “Woman work” proves that woman in fact do work, being a housewife is not just work that women are entitled to doing, it is an actual job.

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