Poor Girl By Maya Angelou Essays

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called “America’s most visible black female autobiographer” by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. In the “Poor Girl”, the speaker sympathizes with a girl who her ex-lover is seeing now. Though she addresses her as ‘Poor Girl’, one discerns that is not only sympathy, but empathy as well. The speaker is contemplating on her own predicament, as she was cheated in the past by the same person.

She begins the poem addressing her ex-lover. She asserts that she recognizes the fact that he has got another love. Note that she uses the word ‘another’ as his love is not exclusive. The girl adores him unconditionally just like she used to. For both of the women, love was the very breath of their life, as they hung on his words. The word ‘hang’ connotes desperation, as in clinging on for dear life. The words came across as ‘gold’; sounding the age-old adage that “All that glitters is not gold.” The girl in question presumes that she understands the man’s soul, but actually does not. They were at a point united in their beliefs; but now separated as time and space has changed the speaker’s conviction regarding the man. The action was still the same, but differed in the time-quotient. She affirms: “Poor Girl/ Just like me.”

The poet foregrounds the guy’s moral fibre with the fact that he was “breaking another heart.” Note that the word ‘another’ is reiterated here by the poetess, as he was breaking it as it were an object, and not something capable of emotion and the intense capacity to feel. The idea comes across as a little boy callously breaking one of his ‘another’ toys, not even attributing it with material value. The speaker declares that there is nothing that she can do about it and is totally helpless. Even if she tried telling her, it was useless as she was blinded by love. She will “make me go”, implying a total dismissal of her. The statement following it :” Poor Girl/ Just like me’ implies that the speaker may have been in a similar situation: she would have been cautioned by another girl like her, but may have disregarded the warnings. Therefore, she understands the girl perfectly. Though the speaker is worldly-wise now, it is not only because she is distant in time and space, but primarily because she is enriched in experience. The speaker underlines the fact that experience is the best teacher.

She foresees that he is going to leave the other girl too. And the girl will be clueless as to what made him leave her. She would fish for a legitimate reason desperately as to why he left her. Sooner than later, the girl would be in the same position and predicament as the speaker :

Then she’ll begin

to sing this song

Poor Girl


Just like me.

At that point, they would be integrated in experience. Thus, the poem not only points to sympathy or empathy on part of the poetess. It also sounds the self-despair of the speaker. Through the girl, it is the speaker lamenting for herself. This becomes obvious from the indelible refrain:

At another level, the speaker may be reliving her memory in an objective way. In that sense, the poem also functions as an impersonal memoir.

The content is the copyright of Rukhaya MK. Any line reproduced from the article has to be appropriately documented by the reader. ©Rukhaya MK. All rights reserved.

Poor Girl

You’ve got another love
       and I know it
Someone who adores you
       just like me
Hanging on your words
       like they were gold
Thinking that she understands
       your soul
Poor Girl
           Just like me.

You’re breaking another heart
       and I know it
And there’s nothing
       I can do
If I try to tell her
       what I know
She’ll misunderstand
       and make me go
Poor Girl
          Just like me.

You’re going to leave her too
       and I know it
She’ll never know
       what made you go
She’ll cry and wonder
       what went wrong
Then she’ll begin to sing this song
Poor Girl
         Just like me.

God, do I know some girls that this poem applies to. That abusive relationship where the man is entitled and so firmly believed that the “crazy ex-girlfriend” (trademarked) is virtually exiled from giving decent advice on how her experiences were shaped. “Poor Girl/Just like me” reemphasizes this cycle has occurred time and time again.

That pattern of abuse, creating confusion and untrustworthiness even furthers the cycle to continue in that girl’s life. As she moves from one man to the next, he will continue the same pattern that allows him to reign in and control that confusion for his own selfish needs. Meanwhile, he will encourage that trust to only develop between him and only him. All outside people will be discredited or despised or decreased in significance.

Not only does Angelou recognize this cycle, but she recognizes the futility in fighting it. This circle of despair is only isolatable and can only be broken apart if the victim recognizes their own self-worth. The exact kind of woman who is not able to do that are the women who succumb to this cycle. As a result, the tremendous growth Angelou has undergone was painful and required an enormous amount of self-loving that she could not have even registered happening to her.

  1. highlandtimesold liked this
  2. ice-and-stars liked this
  3. virtuesandvicez liked this
  4. layla-and-majnun liked this
Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Poor Girl By Maya Angelou Essays”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *