An analysis of the Maya Angelou poem , "To a man".

Essay by discordiaHigh School, 12th gradeA, September 2003

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'To a man' is written by Maya Angelou, whose first novel was an

autobiography of her varied life, (activist, singer, waitress, dancer etc.)

called 'I know why the caged bird sings'. She has written two collections

of prose, 'Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now' and 'Even the stars

look lonesome'. Angelou has written several famous poems, including

'Still I rise' and 'On the pulse of the morning' for the inaugeration of

President Clinton. Maya Angelou now has a lifetime appointment as

Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North


The poem is about the man that Maya Angelou loves, and she uses

a variety of metaphors and images to describe him to the reader. Maya

Angelou has a very decisive style of writing and uses lots of modal verbs

such as 'is' to convey her message to the reader. She writes poems to

entertain people, and to be read aloud.

I think this one is one of those

poems because she uses full stops and capital letters to show when

pauses should be given and which words need particular emphasis. This

poem is serious, and thought provoking, and she uses unusual imagery to

compare her man to. I like the style she uses to give meaning to her

words, and how she uses punctuation and enjambement together which

gives an interesting effect. The mood is quite happy, as she describes her

man, who makes her feel warm and laughs through his own troubles.

The poem does not follow conventional structure, or use syllabic

sentencing on each line. The lines do not rhyme, and it is like Angelou

has just written down her thoughts, without purposefully making them

into a piece of poetry. The poem is twenty two lines long, and puts

important ideas...