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A Plagued Journey- Maya Angleou

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MaKayla Day

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of A Plagued Journey- Maya Angleou

A Plagued Journey- Maya Angelou
The Meaning
The poem "A Plagued Journey" is about being somewhat forced to regain hope as the sun rises, but having a constant battle to go back to the gloom and "bonds of disconsolation" with the darkness.
An omnipresent sense of evil and darkness throughout the entire poem
Maya Angelou centers on the struggle of maintaining hope even when times are hard

An additional analysis is a deadly illness overcoming a woman unexpectedly.
There are multiple times in the poem when Angelou references being ill

The Setting
The setting in this poem is a dark and quiet room that is excluded from society. Angelou describes this room as a "dark prison" because the gloom and darkness makes her feel trapped. As the poem progresses, the room is flooded with light which metaphorically represents hope. The light flooding the room as the poem progresses is significant because it shows that the despair and darkness, has been subdued by the light.
The Format
The break in the poem symbolizes the difference between night(darkness, the plague) and day(light). This is also where the mood of the poem changes.
There are many descriptors. Angelou uses body parts and adjectives to describe how the light moves and effects her.
16 sentences, 43 lines, free verse.
Angelou is constantly describing the sentiments of the individual
A link to another work
In Romeo and Juliet, there is also a constant battle between darkness and light. In Romeo and Juliet, there are times when light rules, such as when Romeo and Juliet fall in love. Then, there are times when the darkness rules, such as when they both take their lives. In "A Plagued Journey", there are similar circumstances. There are times when the main character feels happy and full of hope, and then, there are times when she feels consumed and controlled by the darkness.
"A Plagued Journey"- Maya Angelou
There is no warning rattle at the door
nor heavy feet to stomp the foyer boards.
Safe in the dark prison, I know that
light slides over
the fingered works of a toothless
woman in Pakistan.
Happy prints of
an invisible time are illuminated.
My mouth agape
rejects the solid air and
lungs hold. The invader takes
direction and
seeps through the plaster walls.
It is at my chamber, entering
the keyhole, pushing
through the padding of the door.
I cannot scream. A bone
of fear clogs my throat.
It is upon me. It is
sunrise, with Hope
its arrogant rider.
My mind, formerly quiescent
in its snug encasement, it strained

to look upon their rapturous visages,
to let them enter even into me.
I am forced
outside myself to
mount the light and ride with Hope.
Through all the bright hours
I cling to expectation, until
darkness comes to reclaim me
as its own. Hope fades, day is gone
into its irredeemable place
and I am thrown back into the familiar
bonds of disconsolation.
Gloom crawls around
lapping lasciviously
between ,my toes, at my ankles,
and it sucks the strands of my
hair. It forgives my heady
fling with Hope. I am
joined again into its
greedy arms.
The Feeling
Towards the subject: Empathy- Angelou's knowledge of the struggle helps her to animate the plot. There is empathy towards the Pakistani woman. The reader feels as if it is happening to them because of how well she uses descriptors.
The tone of the poem is sometimes gaudy because of how brutally honest Angelou is about how the invader makes her feel. At other times, the poem is more relaxed because she changes her mind about how she feels about the invader.
The Plague
The bubonic plague is discussed in the poem
The mortality rate was 50-75%
4 of 5 die within 8 to 10 days
The bubonic plague is internal bleeding, leading to death
Caused by Yersinia Pesits, which is carried by rodents and fleas
Lines 1-6
"There is no warning at the door
nor heavy feet to stomp the foyer boards.
Safe in the dark prison, I know that
light slides over
the fingered work of a toothless
woman in Pakistan."
"No warning rattle at the door nor heavy feet to stomp the foyer boards." Is referring to the black plague. The black plague spread quickly, and struck without any warning
"nor
heavy feet to stomp
the foyer boards." is imagery
"Safe in the dark prison, I know that light slides over..." is contrasting gloom and hope
"...the fingered work of a
toothless woman in Pakistan
." is imagery
Lines 7-13
"Happy prints of
an invisible time are illumined.
My mouth agape
rejects the solid air and
lungs hold. The invader takes
direction and
seeps through the plaster walls."
"My mouth agape rejects the solid air and lungs hold" is referring to the bubonic or black plague, and to being sick with it.
"The invader takes direction and seeps through the plaster walls" is symbolizing the dark thoughts that are invading her mind
Lines 14-18
"It is at my chamber. entering
the keyhole, pushing
through the padding of the door.
I cannot scream. A bone
of fear clogs my throat."

It is at my chamber, entering the keyhole, pushing through the padding of the door" is showing that she has no control of the situation. The darkness and gloom has all of the power.
"
I cannot scream
" is a metaphor for silent despair
"...
entering
the keyhole,
pushing through the padding
of the door" is imagery.
Lines 19-25
"It is upon me. It is
sunrise, with Hope
its arrogant rider.
My mind, formerly quiescent*
in its snug encasement, is strained
to look upon their rapturous visages,
to let them enter even into me."
"
It
is upon me." The "It" is hope and happiness
"It is sunrise, with
Hope
" Hope is capitalized to show that it is significant and has immense power
*Quiescent: A state or period of inactivity or dormancy
Lines 26-28
"I am forced
outside myself to
mount the light and ride joined with Hope."


"...
mount
the light and
ride
with Hope." is imagery, personification, and also a metaphor
"I am forced outside myself" is implying that being happy and hopeful is outside of the norm for her
Diction
Gloom
Irredeemable
Darkness
Fades
Formerly
Fear
Clogs
Bonds
Disconsolation
Heavy
Stomp
Rejects
Invader
Chamber
Lines 29-32
'Through all the bright hours-
I cling to expectation, until
darkness comes to reclaim me
as its own."
"Until darkness comes to reclaim me" shows that she has a stronger relationship with the darkness because she goes back to it
"Darkness comes to
reclaim
me" is personification
"through all the bright hours I cling to expectation" shows that she has a struggle with holding on to hope
"I
cling
to expectation" is a metaphor
Lines 32-35
Hope fades, day is gone
into its irredeemable place
and I am thrown back into the familiar
bonds of disconsolation*.
"
Hope fades
" is repeated many times throughout the poem
"the familiar bonds of disconsolation" is going back into the gloom and darkness, leaving all hope behind.
*Disconsolation:without consolation or comfort; unhappy
Lines 36-40
"Gloom crawls around
lapping lasciviously
between my toes, at my ankles,
and it sucks the strands of my
hair."
"Gloom
crawls
around" is personification
The use of body parts (i.e. toes, ankles, hair) helps to describe how personally the darkness is effecting her.
Lines 40-43
"It forgives my heady
fling with Hope. I am
joined again into its
greedy arms."
The ending is different because it is not a happy ending that satisfies the reader. Rather, it is a sad ending which is unusual.
Although, "Hope" is still capitalized, showing that is still has some significance
"Greedy arms" shows that the darkness is evil and controlling
Greedy
Seeps
Scream
Quiescent
Full transcript