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Elizabeth SchrierSteven GonzagowskiLIT-20012/14/2019Final ProjectAnd Still I Riseby Maya Angelou:Interpreting LiteratureMaya Angelou’sAndStill I Riseis a beautiful work that would be perfect to analyzeusing the Ethnic Studies lens. Ethnic studies tend to examine works that represent experiencesdifferent from the usual white majority perspective, including African American, Latino andLatina, Asian American, and Native American authors (Gonzagowski, Steven). It is important inEthnic Studies to be aware of diversity and equality throughout American literature due to thesuppression of such awareness throughout history (Shmoop Editorial Team). Ethnic Studiespushes to view the world through these diverse views and tries to paint the world in a differentway than we have grown accustomed to, using these Ethnic lens. This literary theory alsoattempts to influence the other perspectives throughout literary theory to include ethnicities aswell.Choosing a LensI feel that Ethnic Studies is perfect for Maya Angelou’sAnd Still I Rise, not only for thesubject matter in her writing but her background as well. Much of Angelou’s work reflect thevery essence of Ethnic studies, focusing a lot on her experience during her life, including her
work with Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X (“Maya Angelou”). She used much of herwriting to fight against racism and bring awareness to the struggle throughout America, helpingin bring change (“Maya Angelou”). Ethnic Studies allows for the reader to shed some light onand explore the resilience and strength Angelou showed when faced with oppression andhardships. For these reasons, it only makes sense to examine the work using Ethnic Studies.There are a few disadvantages to choosing this study compared to some of the other options. Forexample, not choosing a more closed reading theory I have less of a chance to really exploreAngelou’s form, the metaphors she uses or even her general technique. Angelou was anextremely talented woman and using Ethnic Studies to view her work, pushes me to prioritize hermessage rather than focus on her outstanding writing skills.Close ReadingAnd Still I Riserelates directly with struggles in racism, specifically directed towardsAfrican Americans, and how she has risen above her ancestor’s history; focusing mostly duringthe times of slavery throughout American History. The connection to her ancestors’ is obviouswhen we look closer at this work, specifically lines 29-32: “Out of the huts of history’s shame, Irise, Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise” (Angelou 29-32). These lines pull the reader’sfocus to the connection between the horrible mistreatment of African American’s in the past and