Introduction to Literary Studies 1 MID-TERM EXAM NAME: PROSEMINAR: Introduction to Literary Studies 1 (WS 2012/2013) PROFESSOR: UNIVERSITY: Karl Franzens University, Graz Graz, 17. November 2012. A Foregrounding in literary works means doing something with the text in that way that it differs from normal and therefore draws attention. There are two main types of foregrounding: parallelism (excessive regularity) and deviation (excessive regularity). Foregrounded regularities are phonological repetition, rhytmic parallels,…
The American Dream - the US: an ideal country for immigration? Table Of Contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Topic The United States of America has a long history of immigration. For centuries, people have been coming to this country in search of new lives. Immigration has shaped the land of endless possibilities for more than 200 years, creating a foundation of diversity for the country. The story of people from many different lands coming to form one nation is multifaceted. Each of these peoples followed its own path to becoming American.1 That…
On the Pulse of Morning
By Maya Angelou
A textual and contextual reading in combination with Bill Clinton’s first inaugural address
2.Formal textual analysis2
4.Introduction to the America of 1993. 5
5.Analyzing the common themes and imagery. 5
7. Bibliography. 9
The purpose of this paper is to offer a textual and contextual reading of Maya Angelou‘s poem “On the Pulse of Morning“ which was written for and performed at the inauguration of American President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993. First I am going to offer a formal textual analysis in order to examine the poem as a text.
The main area this paper is going to cover is the historical context as well as the parallels with Bill Clinton‘s own inauguration speech. I want to look at the overall situation of the United States of America at that point in time in order to understand what could have driven Maya Angelou to write this poem for Clinton‘s inauguration. The shared themes between Angelou‘s poem and Clinton‘s speech both point towards a better future and help to illustrate each other‘s points.
By contrasting and comparing „On the Pulse of Morning“ with Bill Clinton‘s inaugural speech new insights can be gained on both the speech and the poem itself. The version of the poem I will be using is the one which is printed in Maya Angelou’s book “The complete collected poems of Maya Angelou”. In this version are some words and lines that are missing in her performance from 1993, but since these do not change the poem drastically I will not address them further.
2.Formal textual analysis
Maya Angelou‘s poem was specifically created to be performed at the inauguration of Bill Clinton as the 42nd president of the United States of America. Angelou opted for a freeform poem without any obvious rhythm and performed it herself in front of thousands of people. Therefore I would recommend everyone who wants to take a closer look at the text to watch her performance at least once, as her unique style brings the poem, which lacks most formal features, to life. (cf.
The performance at Bill Clinton‘s first inauguration
As mentioned above, the poem was composed to be performed at Bill Clinton‘s first inauguration as president of the United States of America. Although she was only the second poet ever to be asked to perform for an inauguration, her performance and her poem were huge successes. Because of the high demand she created an audio-version, which won a Grammy Award for „Best Spoken word or N.....
Clinton uses very similar lines in his speech. He talks about how the Americans must „assume new responsibilities“(Online 2. Z. 14) “face hard truth and take strong steps“, “take fearsome challenges“, but also criticizes how the American people have “drifted“(Online 2. Z. 32-33 ) instead of going forward .
He wants his fellow citizens to know that they can count on America, but also reminds them of the future and the work that has to be done in orde.....
Z.76-78). Angelou instructs the people to look up again and reclaim the dream that made the United States into what they are today. She emphasizes a possible new beginning and the need for change. She uses the image of a tree to suggest that the people should settle down peacefully and, like the tree in her poem, invite their fellow citizens to live together. The tree does exactly that, he is firmly planted into the land and tells the people to root themselves besides him.
Clinton does not cite any specific historical events in his speech, but the theme of changes and new beginnings is present throughout the whole speech. The most common image he uses is the image of winter changing into spring. This works not only on the temporal level -“This ceremony is held i.....