Q:

What is Maya Angelou's poem "Alone" about?

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Quick Answer

The poem "Alone," by Maya Angelou, is written as the narrator's bedtime musings about life and its meaning. The poem's speaker is lying in bed thinking and searching for answers when she realizes she has the answer. She concludes that people need each other because no one successfully faces life alone.

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Full Answer

The theme of people needing people resonates through much of Maya Angelou's work. Having lived through the discrimination of the earlier 20th century and then through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, this woman has experienced life's failures and successes.

"Alone, all alone/ Nobody, but nobody/ Can make it out here alone" is this poem's refrain and major theme. The number of times Angelou repeats these words emphasizes how important they are to the poem's meaning. The narrator speaks of the millionaire whose money does not buy him happiness and whose family is in a mess. No amount of money paid to the best doctors results in a cure for what ails him.

She speaks of mankind in general, warning that hard times are ahead and that these are the times when people need one another to help them through their suffering. Life is meant to be lived with everyone helping each other and contributing what he has to the general good.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the mood of the poem "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou?

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    The mood of "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou is upbeat, optimistic and happy. The mood is celebratory, extolling the virtues and success of a woman with a large body. The large female is identified as the phenomenal woman.

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  • Q:

    Why did Maya Angelou write "Phenomenal Woman"?

    A:

    In an interview with the Academy of Achievement, Maya Angelou shared that she wrote "Phenomenal Woman" for women everywhere, saying, "I wrote it for black women, and white women, and Chinese women, and Japanese women, and Jewish women. I wrote it for Native American women, Aleut, Eskimo ladies. I wrote it for all women. Very fat women, very thin, pretty, plain." It was first published in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1978.

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  • Q:

    For what is Maya Angelou famous?

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    Maya Angelou is, among other things, an author, poet and civil rights activist who gained international fame with her book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which was published in 1969. The book was an autobiography recounting Angelou's life experiences until the age of 17. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" made history when it became a bestseller, a first for a female African-American author.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about Maya Angelou?

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    One fact about the poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is that she was born Marguerite Annie Johnson. Her professional name is a combination of her childhood nickname "Maya," which her brother Bailey bestowed on her, and the shortened nickname of her first husband Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor and aspiring musician. Angelou's most celebrated literary work was her autobiographical book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

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