Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.


Ha, ha, ha. Yeah, that’s all of us too out there, Maya. I really enjoyed the reading of this poem. Well done, all you women out there. There are no flies on you too, that’s for sure! 🙂

Women wonder at the attractiveness of the female speaker.

Assuming that it is her aim, they see her “perfection,” and wonder about how she attains it. When the speaker reiterates that her motive is not what they think, the women respond in disbelief, thinking that she tells, “lies”. The speaker, however, tries to explain to them her own reasons for the attractiveness others see in her. The numerous things she points to about herself such as “the reach of my arms” and “the fire in my eyes” all focus on the common thread that she is a “phenomenal” woman.

I thoroughly enjoyed this analysis and will read it in more detail at a later stage.

Alliteration [repetition of consonant sounds at the start of nearby words] The use of words that start with ‘f’ in the second stanza links them all together. The whole purpose is to show how fellows react to her: ‘fall’, ‘fire’, and ‘flash’. This ‘f’ echoes the ‘f’ sound written as ‘ph’ in ‘phenomenal’.

Skoool.ie Exam Centre.

from “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” (1994), an editorial statement by fifty-two researchers

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