To what extent do you agree that Angelou’s poetry presents the female struggle for identity more effectively than the male struggle?
Angelou writes from many different viewpoints, the main one tending to be from a female perspective.
The poem ‘men’ focuses on the admiration and vulnerability a woman may feel towards a man – ‘they knew I was there. Fifteen years old and starving for them.’ By saying ‘they knew I was there’ shows the reader that everywhere the young girl goes men are constantly watching her, looking for her even with the age that she is at. ‘Starving’ is a sense of desperation for something, in this case the young girl may want sexual experience this links to a later line ‘it is your juice’ this is also a simile, which may connote to the physical point, referring to a sexual encounter. However, with the sentence being short it shows us that a lack of detachment was there this also relates back to the young girl wanting experience. Angelou portrayed to us the image of a young girl struggling for identity due to want of a man’s touch, making the female struggle more effective than a man’s struggle.
Whereas, in the poem ‘Willie’ Angelou shows the struggle for a man’s identity in a more negative view than the girl in ‘men’. During the poem it states that people call him ‘uncle’ ‘boy’ and ‘hey’ this shows us that Willie does not have a true identity to anybody – meaning nobody actually knows him, suggesting to the reader that he is on his own and has no body. This is supported by aneglou saying ‘solitude was the climate in his head, emptiness was the partner in his bed’ . However the word lonely is never actually used, this may imply that although he is on his own he may not necessarily not be happy with his life and the identity he holds.
Throughout the poem, Angelou uses a lot of natural imagery of the cycle of seasons – this could be a metaphor to show us that although he is a lone he is experiencing everything the same has others would be,...