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Men Analysis



Author: Poetry of Maya Angelou Type: Poetry Views: 633

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When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them. Men are always
Going somewhere.
They knew I was there. Fifteen
Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pause,
Their shoulders high like the
Breasts of a young girl,
Jacket tails slapping over
Those behinds,
Men.

One day they hold you in the
Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you
Were the last raw egg in the world. Then
They tighten up. Just a little. The
First squeeze is nice. A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness. A little
More. The hurt begins. Wrench out a
Smile that slides around the fear. When the
Air disappears,
Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly,
Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered.
It is your juice
That runs down their legs. Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again,
And taste tries to return to the tongue,
Your body has slammed shut. Forever.
No keys exist.

Then the window draws full upon
Your mind. There, just beyond
The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.

Maybe.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Maya was molested when she was younger while visiting her mother and i feel that this poem is depicitng what she thought of ir. she talkes about how the man would draw her in, and how attracted she was to them but then in the second stanza she cahnges, the "hurt begins". and she her life changes. her body has slammed shut for ever and no key exists, and she is more weary of men after wardsposted.

| Posted on 2015-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I love this poem because it remindes me of myself and my family.(most my mom or grandmother in their day) I feel inspired by Angelou's writting of her poems. sometimes I wish I could express myself like her. "Fifteen years old and starving for them..." I remeber when I was that same age, and my mom telling me "I know you will look at boys a different way but, I trust you." I know how Angelou feels to look at the different kind of men in the world, and just to think we fall for the sweet things they say or do. She makes me think of things i could do with my life, I want to write poetry too, and Angelou is the only thing that inspiries me..

| Posted on 2015-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Maya was molested when she was younger while visiting her mother and i feel that this poem is depicitng what she thought of ir. she talkes about how the man would draw her in, and how attracted she was to them but then in the second stanza she cahnges, the "hurt begins". and she her life changes. her body has slammed shut for ever and no key exists, and she is more weary of men after wards

| Posted on 2015-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I love this poem because it remindes me of myself and my family.(most my mom or grandmother in their day) I feel inspired by Angelou's writting of her poems. sometimes I wish I could express myself like her. "Fifteen years old and starving for them..." I remeber when I was that same age, and my mom telling me "I know you will look at boys a different way but, I trust you." I know how Angelou feels to look at the different kind of men in the world, and just to think we fall for the sweet things they say or do. She makes me think of things i could do with my life, I want to write poetry too, and Angelou is the only thing that inspiries me.

| Posted on 2015-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

During the late 20th century Maya Angelou was arguably considered one of the most influential feminist and black movement writers of the time. She wrote many poems, songs and even books about what was happening in her life. Her most well-known autobiography I know why the caged bird sings is arguably her most famous piece to date. Others like on the pulse of morning displays recent views on the work that she was doing throughout her life. Angelou recently died in 2014 having produced over 20 pieces of influential work, her poem Men was written in 1978 and is in one of her volumes of poetry. This volume was called And still I rise and consisted of 32 poems produced in one of the most productive periods of her career. There have been many reviews of Maya Angelou that describe her as being “Multi talented” while “a brilliant writer and a fierce friend” were the kind words from her close friend Martin Luther King Jr. Although she was well known for her feminist works I believe that to her poem Men a gender approach may be more appropriate.
To look upon Men with a feminist reading, one would be saying that Angelou was trying to convey and contest the role of women within the society at the time. Examples of this would be when she writes “I used to watch behind the curtain” this suggests that women should be seen and not heard, closed behind “curtains” or in buildings away from anyone except the prying eyes of the men down below. The poem arguably portrays women as someone that should yield to the liberations of men when they “wrench out a smile that slides around the fear” thus being a loyal almost animal like individual. Angelou’s collection of poems was received with widespread critical acclaim and enormous popular success which added to the already developed love of her work for the people of America and around the world.
Although this feminist reading features strongly I do believe that a gender approach would suit the poem well. For a poem to be a piece of gender criticism the author has to create roles for females and or males. In Men both the females and the males are given roles that Angelou believes were given to them by society. This is the difference between a gender and a feminist reading, the latter focuses solely on the females in the patriarchal society whilst the former creates gender specific roles. Examples of these roles are seen throughout her poem; one of which being “Men walk. Knowing something. Going someplace.” As if men have all the knowledge that women don’t and that they can do what they want whilst the women are “behind the curtains”. From the age of seven after having been abused by her mother’s boyfriend Maya Angelou became introverted and would not talk to anyone for five years. Almost as if locking herself in her own world to trap out the troubles that came with the big world outside. This is almost like what the fifteen year old narrator had been doing for the last few years of her life until she started to notice the men that “knew she was there”.

| Posted on 2015-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Maya was molested when she was younger while visiting her mother and i feel that this poem is depicitng what she thought of ir. she talkes about how the man would draw her in, and how attracted she was to them but then in the second stanza she cahnges, the "hurt begins". and she her life changes. her body has slammed shut for ever and no key exists, and she is more weary of men after wards

| Posted on 2009-05-07 | by a guest


.: :.

I love this poem because it remindes me of myself and my family.(most my mom or grandmother in their day) I feel inspired by Angelou's writting of her poems. sometimes I wish I could express myself like her. "Fifteen years old and starving for them..." I remeber when I was that same age, and my mom telling me "I know you will look at boys a different way but, I trust you." I know how Angelou feels to look at the different kind of men in the world, and just to think we fall for the sweet things they say or do. She makes me think of things i could do with my life, I want to write poetry too, and Angelou is the only thing that inspiries me.

Tiffany Mathews,
16-Fordyce,Arkansas

| Posted on 2006-02-06 | by Approved Guest




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