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by Maya Angelou

Patriotism Theme

There's an interesting sort of loyalty that gets developed in this poem. Sure, we know that Angelou is trying to inspire the same sorts of dedication, affection, and respect that patriotic poets have droned on about for years. There's almost a set formula for whipping up patriotic fervor: "How do I love Country X? Let me count the ways." Here's the funny part, though: Africa's not a country. It's a continent – one full of different peoples, cultures, and customs. We've heard of nationalism, but continentism? That's a new one. So just what sort of patriotism is Angelou trying to inspire here? Well, read on in the "Quotes" section, folks. We're about to find out.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. Who counts as African in this poem? How do you reach your conclusion?
  2. Why is the speaker proud of Africa?
  3. Does this seem like the sort of patriotism you experience? Why or why not?
  4. Is the speaker's relationship with Africa patriotic? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker is proud of Africa because, even though she has endured so much, Africa is "rising."

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