Study Guide

Alone Society and Class

By Maya Angelou

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Society and Class

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use (14-15)

Why does Angelou single out millionaires? It's probably to emphasize that loneliness crosses all social and class barriers.

They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone. (18-19)

Once again, healthcare fails us! Money can only buy certain forms of healing – and the alone-ness that this poem describes doesn't seem to respond to traditional healing methods.

The race of man is suffering (30)

By assuring us that all of mankind belongs to a single "race," Angelou erases all social or cultural barriers. Everyone is suffering, regardless of his or her circumstances.

Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. (12-13)

Notice how the speaker includes herself in the "here" where suffering occurs? It's a subtle form of social leveling: we're all part of this "here."  We all have to figure out this problem together.

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