Monday, September 17, 2007

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Thanks again to my sister Neci, the wonderful teacher, for mentioning this poem to me. (Teachers are always mentioning interesting things.)

I found a discussion on breaking down the stereotypes about what is feared in life, in a lesson called 'Infusing Equity Into the Classroom.' The questions below also came from, a Rhode Island site for empowering women.

For smaller children, this is a good poem to read after a trip to Walgreens or Walmart, yikes all those scary Halloween creatures!

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

By Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys in a fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys pull all my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.


What kind of stance does the speaker take against her fears in life?
How does she deal with them?
Do you see her conquering her fears or denying that she is actually afraid of them?
If she is in fact not afraid, why do you think this is so?
Should she be afraid of the things listed in the poem?
Why does she strongly refuse to be afraid of these things in life?
What would it make her if she actually was afraid of any of these things. Would she be fitting a stereotype or a gender biased opinion?
Do you find it interesting or even surprising that these things do not frighten the speaker? Why or Why not?
What is the speaker saying about boys and girls her age in the fifth stanza? - Should they frighten her? Do you think she fits in with them?
Besides her saying so repeatedly, what else can you point out as evidence of her fearlessness in the poem?
Would anything in this poem frighten you? Be honest.
Did Angelou’s apparent fearlessness towards the things in the poem contradict what you think females are generally frightened of? Can you say exactly why she refuses to fear these things? Why must she let us know?

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