An Analysis of Metaphor in Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” and “Still I Rise” Poems

Akhbar Pradana Raharta (1), Waode Hamsia (2)
(1) Muhammadiyah University of Surabaya,
(2) , Indonesia


This research explored the possible meaning of the metaphor in the poem of Maya Angelou. The researcher focused on metaphor forms found as the object to be analyzed in Maya Angelou’s poems. Metaphor is one part of figurative languages which is the most common and widely used in literary works such as poem. Poem is a media for a poet to express feeling and imagination based on condition of a poet’s life. The data of this research were Caged Bird and Still I Rise poems by Maya Angelou. This research used descriptive qualitative to analyze the data. The purpose of this research was to find out the type of metaphor based on Crystal, Lakoff and Johnson theory, know the reasons of the use of metaphor, and interpret the poem meaning based on explication and author’s biography. It was found that Maya Angelou used three types of live metaphor they are Conceptual metaphor, Mixed metaphor and Poetic metaphor. It was also found that each poem tells about the author’s personal opinion about the racial inequality between black races and white races in America at that time.

Full text article

Generated from XML file


Abrams, M.H. 1999. A Glossary of Literary Terms, Seven Edition. Massachusetts:

Heinle & Heinle, .

Beckson, K. & Ganz, A. 1975. Literary Terms: A Dictionary. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.

Bloomfield, Leonard. 1993. Laguage. New York: Hold, Rinehart

Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics: The Basic. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis


Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. 2007. Research Methods In education, 6th edition. Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Crystal, D. 1999. The Penguin Dictionary of Language (Second Edition). London:


Croft, William and Cruse, Alan. 2010. Cognitive Linguistics. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press

Cruse, Alan. 2004. Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and

Pragmatics .Oxford: Oxford University Press

De Saussure, Ferdinand. 1966. Course in General Linguistic. Mc Graw-Hill:

Michigan University

Eco, U. 1984. Semiotics and The Philosophy of Language. London: The Macmillan Press.

Goatly, A. 1997. The Language of Metaphor. New York : Routledge.

Hauser, G. A. 1986. Introduction to Rhetorical Theory. New York: Harper & Row,

Publishers, Inc.

Holman, C. Hugh. 1993. A Handbook to Literature Volume 3. Canada: The Odywey


Holman, C. Hugh. 1978. A Handbook to Literature. Indianapolis, Indiana: The Bobbs-Merril Company, Inc.

Katz, J. J. 1972. Semantic Theory. New York: Harper & Row, Publisher

Knowles, Murray, and Moon, Rosamund. 2006. Introducing Metaphor. Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Kovecses, Zoltan. 2010. Metaphor : A Practical Introduction. Oxford University

Press, Inc.

Lakoff, George. The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1992.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphor We Live By. Chicago and London: The

University of Chicago Press, 1980.

Leech, G. 1974. Semantics. London: Penguin.

Leech, G. 1981. Semantics. London: Penguin. Indonesian Version By Drs. Paina

Pratama, M.Hum.

Lyons, J. 1981. Language And Linguistics: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Lyons, J. 1977. Semantics I. London: Cambridge University Press

Martin, H. & P. C. Wren. 1990. High School English Grammar and Comparison

Matthews, P.H. 1997. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. New York:

Oxford University Press

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press

Palmer, F.R.. 1976. Semantics: A New outline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Perrine, Laurence and R. ARP, Thomas. 1992. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to

Poetry Eight Edition. Southern Methodist University

Recanati, Francois. 2004. Literal Meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Renton, Nick E., 1990. Metaphorically Speaking : A Dictionary of 3,800

Picturesque Idiomatic Expressions. Warner Books, Inc.

Van Dijk, T.A. 2008. Discourse and Context: A Sociocognitive Approach. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Internet Bibliography:

Crum, Maddie. May 28, 2014. 9 Inspiring Maya Angelou Poems You Can Read (online). Retrieved from : March 15, 2015,

N. Maloney, Thomas. January 14, 2002. African Americans in the Twentieth Century. (online). Retrieved from : July 22, 2015

Poetry - Maya Angelou Biography. 2015 (online). Retrieved from : July 10, 2015


Akhbar Pradana Raharta (Primary Contact)
Waode Hamsia
Raharta, A. P., & Hamsia, W. (2015). An Analysis of Metaphor in Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” and “Still I Rise” Poems. Tell : Teaching of English Language and Literature Journal, 4(1), 23–34.

Article Details