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“Africa” Under Study

“Africa” Under Study

“Her screams loud and vain” (“Africa” 21), “her history slain” (“Africa” 23), “two Niles her tears” these passages are filled with such passion pain and anguish that is no wonder that any person can get completely caught up in them. I, a simple English student with more ambition than skill, have been swept away by the historical reference set to a sweet rhythm. The purpose of this paper is to provide a complete character study over “Africa”, by Maya Angelou.

The main character of “Africa” is the author Maya Angelou. She does this by narrating the piece. She expresses that Africa, and alimentally herself, are strong black women. She does this when she writes “…mountains her breast two Niles her tears Thus she has lain Black through the years” (“Africa” 5-8). In this passage she openly expresses that Africa is a black woman that has been repressed throughout history for what she is. Angelou also adds at the end “her history slain now she is striding although she has lain” (“Africa” 23-25). This demonstrates that although Africa has been repressed in the past, now she has stepped forward leaving her past behind her. Because of this Africa is now stronger. It is because of Maya Angelou’s understanding towards the great continent and the way she chooses to decode Africa that implies that in fact the author is also a strong but once repressed black woman. The tone in which Maya Angelou writes during “Africa” is one of pride and remembrance. “Brigands ungentle icicle cold took her young daughters and sold her strong sons” (“Africa” 11-14), implies that Africa still feels the pain of white men English enslaving her black children and “Churched her with Jesus bled her with guns” (“Africa” 15-16). Though Africa “remembers her pain remembers her losses” (“Africa” 19-20) “Now she is rising” (“Africa” 18). This means that Africa has collected her loses and tragedies and placed them close to her heart allowing her to grow stronger rather than laying down and take the misery and torture anymore. This also implies that Maya Angelou has somehow put her past behind her and is now striding forward with her own life shouting it to the world of literature rather than whispering it into private ears.


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Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (876 words)

Views:   12786

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