Short Summary of “Still I Rise” Maya Angelou
The phrase ‘pumping in the living room’ denotes that everyone feels that the author has earned whatever she have without any hard work and now enjoying sitting in the living room. But no matter, how everyone behaves or feels the author is hopeful and compares her life with that of the sun and moon. Just like every new day, new sun shines and with every setting sun, a new moon comes, the author shall also be hopeful to rise again. Just like there is a certainty of high tides with the onset of moon, the author is full of rays of hope that even her life will shine again.
The author is very sad and wants to know why others are sad because of her happiness and why do them want her to be broken, shattered or unhappy. She draws her picture of a broken and shattered lady with bowed head and lowered eyes, as if she had committed a big crime. Not just from outside, people want her to be deserted from deep within her soul, wants to make her heart ache and soul cry.
Once again, the author is trying to find the answers as to why people are so upset with whatever she is, she have or she do. She is making guesses, are everyone is annoyed at her being bold.
And if she is bold enough, why do not people take it as a challenge and compete but not get offended by her attributes. Life is not easy for the author as such, but people feel that she is enjoying as if she just earned gold that too without doing anything. But she is actually sad at how people behave with her.
Next, she explains the gestures of the people which are not so good. People give her nasty looks, abuse her by their harsh words and hate her. She is not being loved by the others. She feels very sad and upset at these gestures, but still she is a strong lady. She strives to rise over and above these looks, words and hatred.
At one time, the author is unhappy and draws the expressions and feelings of others towards her, and at the other hand, she tries to question and explain to herself for such feelings. She feels that are people upset from the fact that she is being smart and sexy in her own way. The expressions of the people are no intense as if she has won a jackpot of diamonds and dancing and showing off. But the truth is that she has got none, and she is as simple and somber like anyone else.
Now, the author is real serious in her tone as she moves her thoughts to the past. She remembers that it has always happened with her. The history has always been like this, where the whites have always suppressed the blacks (as she also belongs to the same caste and race of blacks). She feels painful while she studies her memories of the pasts which have been brutal and unfair. She gets nostalgic and feels herself to be deep in a black ocean, trying to move up but it is hard.
But at the same time, she gathers all her energy and again gets bold in her words. She understands that no matter she have to go through a lot, be it past or even present, she had risen in the past and will do the same in future as well. She is hopeful and could see a wonderful clear and bright future lies ahead of her. She got this energy and boldness from her ancestors who had suffered a lot and gave her the lessons of bravery and survival. These strengthen her to rise against all these sufferings, since she is the one who will shape the future of many others like her.
In the last few lines of the poem, the author is comparing her present with the past. She knows that the old days of slavery may have ended, but the present scenario is also not good. The blacks are still not getting the respect and pride which they deserve. And in order to make the future a better one for all the people suffering from this harassment, she has to remain strong, and always fight against these oppressions.