Relevance Theoretical Interpretation of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”

Adaoma Igwedibia, Austin Okeke, Christian Anieke, Ozouri Innocent Ikechukwu


For certain, one does not need to be a colossal voracious reader as to arriving at what Maya Angelou is driving at in virtually all her works. Of course, Maya is not just a fantastic poet but also a renowned storyteller, a fearless activist, a peculiar autobiographer, a gifted singer and playwright whose works generally provoke some sort of empowering flash of thoughts in that they are mostly soused in a struggle to overcome prejudice and injustice. As a matter of fact, Maya Angelou’s works are evidently frontal and a host of them have been literarily torn in and out. Hence they are glaringly a projection of self-awareness even in the face of oppression. It is on this stroke that this present study seeks to dig deep into the most confrontational work of Maya Angelou, her assertive but reliant poem “Still I Rise” so as to come by other extra-linguistic significations therein. And when a study tends to incorporate other varying meanings in a particular data in relation to context, it is, presumably, under the purview of pragmatics whose preoccupation is to accentuate meaning on context basis. But pragmatics is such broad a discipline with several frameworks. Therefore, even though this paper is going to be very much encompassing in the course of this study, its object of attention is to pragmatically study just a fraction of Maya Angelou’s works, her poem “Still I Rise” to be precise with a viable context-based theory, Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory.


Pragmatics, Self Awareness, Relevance, Poem, Maya Angelou

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