Poem Analysis: Africa By Angelou, Maya

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Poem Analysis: Africa by Angelou, Maya


Maya Angelou's "Africa" recounts Africa being destroyed by Europeans who took the children of Africa into slavery. Personification and rhythm enhance both the imagery and tone of the poem. The countries of Africa is personified to conceive vivid images and the rhythmical patterns assist to the altering pitch from pleasing to unpleasing to contemplative.

Africa is personified to create vivid imagery and to give human strong feelings to a continent. Simultaneously, the whole verse is a metaphor of Africa as a attractive woman. Africa is personified as a woman with "deserts her hair [...] / hills her breasts / two Niles her tears" (3,6). The recount conceives vivid images of the land. In line 21, Africa "screams loud and vain." This personification and onomatopoeia suggest that the continent was devastated when people were taken from their homeland. Also, the words "she" and "her" are repeated throughout the poem. The countries is treated as a woman to empathize. In line 24, which states "she is striding," the image of a confident stride suggests the resurrection of the country after "her history [was] slain" (23). Also, the continent is personified as a mother in lines 13-14 when the Europeans "took her young daughters / sold her strong sons." The comparison draws attention not to a beautiful resting woman, but to her rape and destruction.


The stanzas have three different tones through the rhythms of the meters. The tones move from pleasant to unpleasant to contemplative. The first and second stanzas contain dactyls followed by imperfect accented feet and trochees while the last stanza contains iambs and spondees. The dactylic meter imitates the sound of distant drums beating in Africa in the first stanza. The repetition of imperfect stressed feet at the end of lines in the second stanza suggests ...
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