Beauty Inside and Out of a 'Phenomenal Woman'

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Strength, power, and self-confidence are three meaningful words that the poem “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou illustrates. Angelou uses alliteration, rhythm scheme and her own personal style to convey the meaning of a “phenomenal woman,” which is what she considers all women to be. Angelou, as an example, enlightens readers that not all hardships and tribulations have to be known. One can interpret that every woman experiences a trial in their life that eventually makes them a stronger individual. Moreover, a “phenomenal woman” is different, but beautiful in their own unique way. She states at the end of each stanza, “I’m a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That’s me” (line 10-13). The word phenomenal has great significance, which is being extraordinary. Angelou enables women to believe that being their own individual makes them dissimilar to another woman. However, she expresses that one’s inner beauty also contributes to the way a person can differentiate themselves from one another. Every line in the poem has an underlining meaning related to being phenomenal. Maya Angelou begins the poem with, “Pretty women wonder were my secret lies. / I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model size / But when I start to tell them, / They think I’m telling lies” (Line 1-4). The use of alliteration makes the reader’s interpretation of the poem have a deeper meaning. Angelou’s words interpret that a woman’s size, shape, and appearance does not contribute to the opinions people may have against them, but to how they think of themselves. Angelou allows the reader to develop an understanding that a person’s inner beauty tells a lot about a person and the confidence they possess within. She states, “It’s in the reach of my arms, / ... ... middle of paper ... ...ck, / The sun of my smile, / The ride of my breast, / The grace of my style” (Line ). Interestingly, towards the end of the poem, Angelou gets deeper into how she feels about her confidence by the way she walks and carries herself. She states, “Now you understand / Just why my head’s not bowed. / I don’t shout or jump about / Or have to talk real loud. / When you see me passing, / It ought to make you proud (Line ). She makes it clear that you do not have to actively seek attention by acting out of character, or trying to be noticed. The amount of self-esteem is determined by the way a woman carries herself. Angelou says, “It’s in the click of my heels, / The bend of my hair, / the palm of my hand, / The need for my care” (Line ). Maya Angelou uses a woman’s body to symbolize the strength, power, and confidence within. Works Cited Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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