"Phenomenal Woman" is a poem written by Maya Angelou, an American poet, author, and civil rights activist. The poem is a celebration of femininity and the power of women. It is a tribute to all women, regardless of their appearance or social status, and encourages them to embrace their inner strength and beauty.
The poem begins with the speaker declaring that she is a "phenomenal woman," a woman who is confident, self-assured, and proud of her femininity. She describes how men are attracted to her, not because of her physical appearance, but because of the way she carries herself. She speaks of her "inner mystery," which she keeps hidden from the world, and her "inner glow," which radiates from within.
The speaker then goes on to describe the various ways in which she is "phenomenal," listing a number of positive attributes and qualities that she possesses. She is strong and self-sufficient, capable of handling any challenge that comes her way. She is intelligent and wise, with a deep understanding of the world and the people around her. She is compassionate and caring, always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Despite these qualities, the speaker is aware that society often judges women based on their looks, and that many people may not see her true worth. However, she is not discouraged by this, and instead embraces her uniqueness and stands proud in her own skin. She knows that she is a "phenomenal woman," and that is all that matters.
In conclusion, "Phenomenal Woman" is a powerful and inspiring poem that celebrates the strength and beauty of women. It encourages women to embrace their femininity and to be proud of who they are, despite the judgments and expectations of society. It is a reminder that every woman has her own unique qualities and abilities, and that these are what make her truly phenomenal.
Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou poem) Study Guide
The poet asserts that the looks alone do not define beauty, but it is the whole of human character and disposition that constitute for its parameters. Thus all these qualities make her phenomenally, phenomenal woman. Angelou is essentially stating that people notice her because of her sexiness and not because of anything else. The listener should be able to better understand her power as a woman and be proud of the speaker for attracting attention while remaining subtle and calm. As the men and women depicted in the poem look at her curiously, it may be argued that some of these stares come from white people who judge the physical attributes of an African-American person. They do not understand what it is about her that makes her command such high dignity and recognition in the society. The pretty woman refers to the woman of fair skin probably the Whites.
Phenomenal Woman Summary & Analysis By Maya Angelou • English Summary
There is joy in her feet. These are the qualities of hers that make her attractive for men to behold. Jubilant, in that the speaker celebrates female empowerment and rejoices in the fact that she is a happy and dignified woman worthy of respect. The poet compares men around her like a hive of honey bees. In the poem, the poet challenges the traditional concept of beauty and tells the readers how beautiful she is and she is quite proud of it. The poem argues the traditional outlooks and apprehensions of femininity, establishing at the same time that beauty is not only skin deep.
Even so, she possesses an undeniable allure that baffles those other women who do aspire for conventional attractiveness. She expects us to understand why she prides on herself, and why she is so self-confident. Maya Angelou says that these traits of her body make her a phenomenal woman in her own way. Throughout her life Angelou actively participated in Phenomenal Woman: Line by line Explanation Stanza One: Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. Through the poem the poet presents herself as a woman who is not quite a coquettish belle, but is beautiful in her own way. They think that she is telling lies and there are indeed some secrets behind her being so attractive.
Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou poem) Literary Elements
Personification "Fall down on their knees" - When men see the speaker, they are so entranced by her that they practically fall to the ground. Surprised by her popularity, many women ask her the reason. Stanza Two: I walk into a room, As cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Falls down on their knees. And yet, the men find themselves inexplicably attracted to the speaker. Her first three autobiographies had been critical and commercial successes, and her first volume of poetry had been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Phenomenal Woman Analysis By Maya Angelou • English Summary
There is no gendered constraint in her intimate description. Men themselves are unsure why they are so helplessly attracted towards her. The poem has been divided into four stanzas. As an example of how this stanza structure plays out, consider the opening stanza. The speaker, by contrast, revels in her allure and the sense of power it brings. Buy Study Guide In the second stanza, the speaker describes her effect on men. The speaker is like a snake charmer, charming the men.
For others, she is most noted for her outspokenness about her history as a sex worker, journalist, fry cook, and as a coordinator for an African American civil rights organization. You can also take a look at this Video Playlist to Learn More about this poem in an audio-visual format! While the poem makes no direct references to race, one can assume that Angelou is describing herself and thus expressing her pride as a powerful and beautiful black woman. She is complete since she is a woman and she needs not to gloss up herself to soar above. The speaker once again highlights both her physical characteristics and her confident attitude, repeating at the end her affirmation that she is indeed a phenomenal woman. By the fourth stanza, the speaker addresses the listener directly and explains that her previous recollections justify her continued confidence.
This is the secret of her beauty, her confidence, and her attractive figure though she lacks fair skin. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. These four lines comprise the refrain that appears at the end of each stanza lines 10—13, 26—29, 42—45, and 57—60. This audacity of thought, this proud claim, this supreme confidence makes her a phenomenal woman. This particular poem keeps featuring in the popular culture again and again because of its crowd-pleasing characteristics. That is, the world around her responds positively to her embodiment of femininity, and because of this, she has no reason to bow her head in shame or insecurity.
In the final stanza, she addresses the listener for the first time and suggests that she will always continue to be a phenomenal woman, as she is such a person "now" and therefore always will be. She is sweet like honey, and she is also powerful like a queen bee commanding the attention of the other bees. They are charmed by her personality. It was subsequently published by Random House publication in a volume edited by Linda Sunshine and accompanying paintings by Paul Gaugin illustrating the poems, in the year 2000. The second section responds by locating the source in various aspects of her body or comportment. Enticed and seduced by her they swarm about her like bees swarm around a queen bee in a beehive. That is, in each case the speaker sets up a problem, offers a solution to the problem, then concludes by affirming a general truth that follows logically from her solution.
This inner beauty is what makes her so invincible and confident, as it is unique and could never be replicated through dress or makeup. One might also argue that these people are also in awe of seeing a black woman who is so beautiful, suggesting underlying notes of racism. Although the poem has no apparent rhythm, the heavy use of repetition and assonance makes it sound rhythmic. When she enters a room and walks to any man, all the men in the room become alert and watch her. American market constructs their own standard of beauty which only celebrates fair colour, sharp features and blue eyes.
Summary and Analysis of Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou: 2022
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Here the inner mystery is something which for the poet is the secret of her beauty. She won many awards for her work over a fifty year period. The poet, who has not fair skin and the elements of beauty rejects the traditional concept of beauty. The poet is unlike other women in that regard. As she did with respect to the pretty women, the speaker goes on to locate the source of her mystery not in the way her body looks, but in her unique way of embodying feminine sexuality.