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

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

Length: 1312 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 ...

... middle of paper ...

...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Maya Angelou: The Strength of the Human Spirit Essay

- In Maya Angelou’s third book of poetry And Still I Rise, the personal struggles of the African American Woman are brought to life through poetic works. With inspirations drawn from personal journeys of Maya Angelou herself, powerful poems praise, celebrate, and empathize with the feminine colored experience. Angelou’s writing sheds glaring light on themes of feminine power, beauty, and perseverance, raising the African American Woman to a pedestal that demands respect and adoration. For Angelou’s audience, the everyday woman is presented equipped with all the necessities to thrive and shine in the face of adversity....   [tags: Maya Angelou]

Better Essays
1752 words (5 pages)

Overhead In County Slogi and Woman Work Essay

- "Woman Work" by Maya Angelou and "Overheard in County Sigo" by Gillian Clarke In this essay I am going to discuss two poems. "Woman Work" written by Maya Angelou, is about a woman who works all the time and just wants to rest. The second poem is called "overheard in County Sigo" written by Gillian Clarke which is about a married woman having a conversation with her friend about her life and looking back at what her ambitions were. "Woman Work" is a regular 5 stanza, rhyming poem, It is set in southern USA....   [tags: Woman Work Maya Angelou]

Free Essays
812 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Still I Rise By Maya Angelou

- Over the past centuries, discrimination and humiliation has been everywhere, especially between the white people and the black people. Black people are always at the lower social status and get less benefited from the welfare. Contemporaneously, an African-American poet Maya Angelou wrote a poem called ‘Still I Rise’. It is a remarkable work drawing from mistreatment and addressing the latent racism and sexism by black people, which has been made into a public-interest advertisement. The poet expresses her inspiring faith in the notion of self-respect and self-esteem....   [tags: Black people, White people, Maya Angelou, Poetry]

Better Essays
1457 words (4.2 pages)

Maya Angelou: Life and Poetry’s Fines Essay

- “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope” ( That uncomplicated line was poet Maya Angelou’s enduring adage throughout the whole of her adult life. Angelou felt that love was among the many skills she possessed, believing to have a predisposition to love all people, and to inspire them to love as well. Maya Angelou’s love for mankind truly shows through her work of poetry as she jumps hurdles, leaps fences, and penetrates walls to reach the ultimate destination of becoming an awe-inspiring human being....   [tags: maya angelou, love, female director]

Better Essays
701 words (2 pages)

The True Gift Of A Writer By Maya Angelou Essay

- The true gift of a writer is their ability to transform sparks into fires: their ability to transform intangible feelings into words on a tangible piece of paper. As Maya Angelou once remarked, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” As a writer, Maya Angelou spent her life sharing her gift with the world; she spent her life telling stories. Angelou spent years transforming her own emotions into words so powerful that people from all walks of life were able to empathize with the feelings each written word evoked when read....   [tags: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings]

Better Essays
1264 words (3.6 pages)

Maya Angelou 's Still I Rise Essay

- Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise,” uses various literary devices to convey her message to the reader. Angelou incorporates similes, metaphors, imagery along with other devices to reach out to her audience and capture the attention of the reader. Angelou’s poem may first be understood as a feminist statement to show her strengths as an African American woman. However, as the reader digs deeper into her work, one can understand that due to the obstacles that she has been faced with in her life, they have given her the immense amount of wisdom and strength to overcome any difficult situation with the mentality that she reveals she has in the poem....   [tags: Question, Rhetorical question, Maya Angelou]

Better Essays
1248 words (3.6 pages)

Analysis Of The Poem ' Phenomenal Woman ' Essays

- The poem "Phenomenal Woman is a poetic poem that women can relate to. It is a celebration of womanhood and femininity It expresses the jealousy, difference, and attitude that women see towards each other and how mean persee them. Every stanza is filled with explanations on how a woman should be confident with the way she looks and reveals woman 's attributes as a phenomenal woman. Angelou tries to show her confidence by stating the body parts that show that confidence and inner strength. This can be seen every line of the poem....   [tags: Confidence, Self-confidence, Poetry, Woman]

Better Essays
1291 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Maya Angelou: A Source of Humanity

- Maya Angelou: A Source of Humanity "I am human," Angelou said, "and nothing human can be alien to me" (Shafer). Maya Angelou just may be the most "human" person in the world. Indeed, with all of the struggles she went through in her early life, her humanness increasingly deepened. Her life was characterized by the instability of her childhood and her family, along with the challenge of being a black woman growing up in 19th century America. The deepness of her humanness is evident in all of her writings, from her autobiographies to her poetry....   [tags: Writer Maya Angelou Essays]

Better Essays
1332 words (3.8 pages)

Woman Work by Maya Angelou Essay

- Since the dawn of time, human beings have been in a constant struggle to survive. Whether you are a man or women, black or white, rich or poor, the hardships of life have seemed to bind us together in a very cruel world. Many poets write about poverty, envy, and the outcome of war which are just a few of the many battles people fight everyday. Poems such as “Women Work”, “Richard Corey”, and “The Sad Children’s Story” define the different meanings of life. “Women Work,” a poem by Maya Angelou, is the story of the monotony of a poor women’s day to day existence....   [tags: Poems, poetry]

Free Essays
869 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Maya Angelou

- Distress in Maya Angelou's Life Marguerite Ann Johnson, commonly known as Maya Angelou, was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a famous African-American poet, novelist, and playwright and also worked during the civil rights: "Angelou is a very remarkable Renaissance woman who hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature" ( She is also an activist in civil-rights. Angelou went through many controversies during her childhood and adulthood; her romantic life was never joyful and there are questions that come consecutively in my mind: how does Angelou's "Artful Pose" demonstrates the attitude toward writing of her poetry....   [tags: Maya Angelou Biography Poet African American]

Better Essays
1173 words (3.4 pages)