How Does Maya Angelou Reflect On Fairness And Development Issues In Her Poem, ‘Equality’?

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Maya Angelou has clearly managed to reflect on fairness and development disputes throughout her poem, ‘Equality’, where she has managed to not only portray the theme of racism but has also addressed various major issues that distinct this planet from equality such as sexism as well as inequality.

Now moving on to narrative voice-tone, Maya Angelou utilizes a first-person perspective as she quotes “You declare you see me dimly, through a glass which will not shine, though I stand before you boldly, trim in rank and making time” Maya Angelou has managed to portray the theme of racism throughout the first stanza as she is using I in order to represent the African Americans and you in order to represent the white, which has a great impact on the audience as she is speaking for all African Americans in hope to end discrimination amongst their kind.

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In relation to themes, this distinct poem relates to the global context Fairness and Development where Maya Angelou quotes “We lived a painful history, We know the shameful past, But I keep on marching forward, And you keep on coming last” as you are able to see Maya Angelou is referring to her painful past and is saying that we both know our disgraceful previous although the African Americans keep on moving forward the white keep on re-enacting the past, which really does link to the global context as this act of maltreatment leads to no development nor fairness in our current world. She also manages to emphasize that point throughout the fourth stanza as she says “You announce my ways are wanton, That I fly from man to man, But if I’m just a shadow to you, Could you ever understand?” Maya Angelou clearly addresses the issue of sexism as she mentions that her ways are wanton. Now, this term (wanton) is typically used for women therefore she is referring to her gender (females) as she mentioned that I fly from man to man, therefore, being sexually unrestrained which is not true after all as this is what the white is hypothetically assuming. Maya Angelou also makes an extremely strong point throughout this stanza where she is referring to the African Americans as shadows to the white, where all they receive from their kind is ignorance as well as mistreatment, therefore, representing their “shadow”.

As you were probably able to tell there isn’t much rhyme throughout this poem ‘Equality’ where the rhyme scheme is as follows (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,f,h,h,i,k,l,m,n,o,n…) a great example would be the fifth stanza (keep in mind that there are 9 stanzas in this poem) “Hear the tempo so compelling, Hear the blood throb through my veins. Yes, my drums are beating nightly, And the rhythms never change.” This is free verse meaning that it does not use consistent meter patterns.

Maya Angelou has made great use of various literary devices throughout her poem such as repetition as she quotes “Equality and I will be free. Equality and I will be free”. Now Maya Angelou has repeated this expression 6 times throughout her poem which strongly emphasizes that all she wants is to be free from racism and for every person to be equally treated. Maya Angelou has used repetition quite a few times throughout her poem as she quotes “You do own to hear me faintly, Like a whisper out of range, While my drums beat out the message, And the rhythms never change” Now, what Maya Angelou is trying to say is that she will continue spreading the message in hope of ending inequality amongst humans. Another literary device that was greatly emphasized throughout this poem was metaphors which were shown by when Maya Angelou said “Take the blinders from your vision, Take the padding from your ears, And confess you’ve heard me crying, And admit you’ve seen my tears.” Now Maya Angelou has made extremely good use of metaphors where she is basically saying that you should stop ignoring us, as you can clearly sense our presence (visually and audibly), where not only have you heard our cry but you’ve seen our tears, which is after all due to discrimination and inequalities amongst both racial groups.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou has clearly managed to reflect on fairness and development issues throughout her poem, not only that but she has also used all sorts of poetic techniques and empowering statements in order to her strengthen her poem and support her point.


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