Q:

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

A:

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.

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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