Literary Analysis Of Maya Angelou's Woman Work

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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…show more content…
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 her chores include caring for the children, the baby, and the tots. From this first stanza it can be concluded that the woman is a single mom She has all of the indoor and outdoor chores to do by herself; normally it would be the husband’s responsibility to take care of outdoor chores. The housewife’s’ chores vary from female chores such as mopping the floor, mending the clothes, and frying the chicken, to then the ascribed male chores which include cutting cane and bringing home the food that is going to be cooked. This demonstrates that a woman alone is able to carry on both roles of a male and female. It does sound tedious but doesn’t mean the housewife will not get the job done. Rather than seeing it as a list of burden, it is a list full of ambition that when completed will feel…show more content…
“Sun, rain, curving sky / Mountain, oceans leaf and stone / star shine, moon glow / you are all that I can call my own”(27-30). The housewife lists all of the elements of nature that help her get through her day; she identifies herself with these elements. The housewife gives human qualities to the elements of nature with the attempt to feel less lonely. The sun, rain, star shine and moon glow are her only friends, the only ones she can rely on, while she in the absence of human company. In this last stanza it is proven that the housewife in deed is a single mother which doubles the amount of daily struggle that she must face. Regardless of the fact, she can handle the work. The tittle of the poem tells the reader that just because a woman is home, does not mean that she is not working, woman in deed do work. The work that a woman must do is essential in maintaining a home and is often overlooked as what’s normal and expected. The tittle of the poem makes the statement that “Woman Work” and do not need to rely on a man or a boss to get their work
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