Comparative Analysis of Maya Angleou’s Poem Still I Rise and Moniza Alvi’s An Unknown Girl

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“An Unknown Girl” by Moniza Alvi is about a girl who is missing her home, and how she feels connected to it, the poem begins with ‘an unknown girl’ who is hennaing her hand. ‘She is icing my hand’ the word ‘ice is commonly associated with water and cold, but in India it is usually very warm and it also has a lot of dry land (deserts).

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There is imagery used in this line with the word ‘icing’ when people think of icing they usually see someone icing a cake and just the word itself ‘icing’ makes it sound relaxing. Further into the poem Alvi uses animals to give the reader more of a picture in their mind of what the henna looks like. ‘A peacock spreads its lines’ Peacocks are bright colourful birds with expand their wings when they want to impress the opposite gender, the feathers of a peacock can be hypnotising, which could represent how she feels when she is getting the henna ‘painted’ on her hand.

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angleou focuses on the experiences of an African American Woman, she explains to the reader what it is like to be an African Woman at the time. She goes through experiences that she has had and shares them with us. “Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides” Maya uses the images of sun and moons, which could represent the contrast in everyday life, having its ups and downs. “Did you want to see me broken?”

Starting a paragraph with a rhetorical question as powerful as this makes the audience feel sympathy for her, people are not usually associated with being ‘broken’, the adjective would in everyday life be used when an item (such as a glass) would be cracked. Broken can be easily associated with weakness and misfortune. When African American Women were treated unfairly they were forced to live in huts: “Out of the huts of history’s shame” Huts are made of material that can be easily found, such as wood and dirt. ‘Huts’ do not correlate with people who can be considered ‘rich’, they are usually combined with the poor.

Moniza Alvi has many uses of metaphors in her poem, ‘Colour leave the street float up in balloons. Dummies in shop-fronts tilt and stare’ Alvi also fills this line with different uses of imagery, the colourful balloons leaving the earth and floating up into the air paints a very colourful image in the reader's mind and colours are usually associated with happiness. She also speaks about how she is missing her home and the culture that is involved in that. ‘Studded with neon’ Neon is a very bright light and it paints a picture in the reader's mind, the poem is filled with colour imagery to make the reader see more clearly what she is trying to portray throughout the poem. Moniza could be using the neon as a way to show when the lights are turned on, it is very bright and vibrant, however when the lights are off it is dark and would be hard to find a way, this could symbolise how she feels on the inside, when there is a guide it is easy to follow but when there is no one it becomes harder.

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Comparative Analysis of Maya Angleou’s Poem Still I Rise and Moniza Alvi’s An Unknown Girl. (2021, February 10). WritingBros. Retrieved June 14, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-maya-angleous-poem-still-i-rise-and-moniza-alvis-an-unknown-girl/
“Comparative Analysis of Maya Angleou’s Poem Still I Rise and Moniza Alvi’s An Unknown Girl.” WritingBros, 10 Feb. 2021, writingbros.com/essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-maya-angleous-poem-still-i-rise-and-moniza-alvis-an-unknown-girl/
Comparative Analysis of Maya Angleou’s Poem Still I Rise and Moniza Alvi’s An Unknown Girl. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-maya-angleous-poem-still-i-rise-and-moniza-alvis-an-unknown-girl/> [Accessed 14 Jun. 2024].
Comparative Analysis of Maya Angleou’s Poem Still I Rise and Moniza Alvi’s An Unknown Girl [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Jun 14]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-maya-angleous-poem-still-i-rise-and-moniza-alvis-an-unknown-girl/
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