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Steven GonzagowskiLIT 200December 15, 2019LIT 200 Final ProjectTitle of chosen passage:“And Still I Rise” By Maya AngelouInterpreting LiteratureI have chosen the psychoanalytic theory for this piece of literature. Psychoanalytic theorycomes from the studies of Sigmund Freud. (Ryan, pg. 113) Essentially, this theory believes thateverything that we do especially creatively is influenced by our unconscious mind. When apsychoanalytic theorist approaches a piece of literature they try to comprehend the author’s andreader’s desires. Authors bring their desires, fears, and hopes to their writing but we as reader’sbring our preferences, desires, and opinions as well. We are encouraged to free associate whenwe read literature and interpret these associations. As I look at Maya Angelou’s poem “And StillI Rise” I find myself asking myself if I am guilty of the stereotype she speaks about in the line:“Does my sassiness upset you?” (ln. 5) Have I stereotyped black women as sassy? Or was thisline Ms. Angelou’s deep seated frustration coming through? But then I continue reading and I amreminded of the times in my life where I was mute and refused to share an injustice done to mebecause I was afraid of the repercussions? Psychoanalytic theory encourages readers to connect
literature to aspects of their own lives and to connect it to the lives of the authors to learn whatcould have inspired their words.Choosing a LensI chose psychoanalytic theory for “And Still I Rise” because of the questions andmemories it raised for me as I was reading it. The advantages of using psychoanalytic theory arethe way it forces the reader to confront aspects of themselves and closer analysis of the wordchoices and phrasing exposes hidden truths about the author which in turn give the piece ofliterature all new meaning and depth. Disadvantages of psychoanalytic theory could be thefinding of repressed desires in any aspect of a piece of literature and the fact that not everythingrelates to a suppressed sexual desire.(Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008)Close Reading