“Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou

1. The speaker takes on the stance that she is fearless against common fears in life.
2. She deals with her fears in an imaginary sort of way.  She faces them with a “magic charm” that she “keep[s] up [her] sleeve”, not in a realistic way by marching up to them and facing them with courage, for example.
3.The author denies that she actually has any fears.  “[M]agic”, the way she deals with her fears, is not real; therefore I believe she is in denial of her fears.

4. I don’t think the author is afraid of what anything in the actual poem.  I think that she has probably already faced and conquered these particular fears or been subjected to them at some point already in her life.  This is why she does not fear them because they are not unknown.
5. The author should not be afraid of these fears because they are mostly childhood fears.
6. I think she strongly refused to be afraid of them because they are childish fears.
7. If the author was actually afraid of shadows, noises, ghosts, dogs, being alone, strangers, and boys, I’d take it that she was very childish in her manners and had not been exposed to much in her life.  While most children fear these things initially, they grow up and overcome those fears as they face life.  I think that if the writer were to be afraid of these, she may possibly be classified in a stereotypical manner of a young girl, but certainly not a woman, especially in the twenty-first century where “woman” suggest strength and power almost equal to that of “man”.  However, “girl” still holds the stereotype of weaker, frailer, and in need of being protected (from things such as fears).
8. I do not find it interesting at all that none of these things frighten the speaker.  I think the speaker is trying to be convey strength, but it is such an immature strength, that it is a very weak argument.
9.  According to the fifth stanza, the speaker seems to be saying that boys are nasty brutes who pick on the girls who appear to be extremely girly.  The speaker probably fits in physically and stereotypically with the children, but mentally, emotionally, and intellectually she is older since she can detach herself from life.  She is more artistic and free in that sense than her peers.
10.  Other indicators that the speaker is fearless is how she makes the ghosts go away “I go boo Make them shoo” and her sense that anything is possible “I can walk the ocean floor And never have to breathe.”
11.  Strangers in the dark frighten me slightly as do panthers, but only if they are loose!
12.  I think, again, that the things that are mentioned are more childhood fears by both sexes.  I think females have deeper fears than this and it is a maturity issue.  I don’t think this is a poem about being a strong woman.  I think it is more a poem about being able to be oneself and not fearing what others think.

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