I’m doing something a bit different. Today I will be analyzing a poem by Maya Angelou. The way I will be analyzing the poem will be a bit different from the usual format which asks you to identify this points:
- Read the poem
- Identify the literal meaning and theme
- Sound and rhythm
- Language and Imagery
The way I will be analyzing the poem is by breaking down the poem into smaller parts and writing down what I think it means. Of course, this is just my interpretation of the poem so It might differ from yours. You can tell me about your interpretation in the comments.
About Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, and has published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry. Her most famous work is I know why the caged bird sings. She died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.
Phenomenal Woman By Maya Angelou
Analyzing the poem
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.”
In these lines I think Maya Angelou is trying to say, “I don’t fit the stereotypical pretty girl image, but I’m still pretty in my own way.” Those who are stereotypical pretty looking wonder why she is so confident with herself even though she doesn’t have the qualities that would make a “pretty” woman.
The poem is a beautiful poem that every girl should read at least once in her life. Especially now a days with magazines and TV shows shoving unrealistic body images onto girls. It’s hard to stay positive about your body.
Maya starts the poem by talking about how some women wonder why she is so popular with men even though she doesn’t fit the beauty standards society has set. She herself talks about how she doesn’t match society standards, so women question what her secret is. How can she get so much attention from men even though she isn’t that pretty?
Maya quickly explains what makes her popular with men. It isn’t her looks, but her confidence. This intrigues men, so they flock around her. Every time she enters a room, she doesn’t need to draw attention to herself as attention comes without her even wanting it especially from men. This again she states is because of her confidence and they way she carries herself. She goes even further and explains that she doesn’t need to change herself to appeal to men as her smile and joy she has draws people in.
Throughout the poem she states that She is a phenomenal woman who doesn’t need to fit society’s image of beauty. She celebrates her womanhood.
From this poem you can learn a lot of things. To be a phenomenal woman one doesn’t need to fit society’s image, but be confident. Be happy with oneself and people will start to notice. One doesn’t need to brag about their confidence or looks as actions do speak louder than words.
What do you all think of this poem? I believe it’s an exceptional poem! Tell me your thoughts in the comment below. Also let me know if there are other poems you would like for me to analyze.