Death and Loss in Maya Angelou’s Poems ‘When Great Tress Fall’ and ‘The Lesson’

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Dr. Sahar Rahman


Death has remained a prominent and universal theme in English poetry. From the anonymous poems composed during the Old English Period, to the works of pre-Romantics, War poets and Modern poets, mortality has served as a unifying theme in English poetry. Elegy has remained an important form within the genre, lamenting the loss of an individual. Poets have dealt with the theme of death differently with some finding consolation in religious belief of afterlife to others seeing it as an indispensable aspect of life. Maya Angelou, an African American poet, has dealt with the theme of loss in few of her notable poems. The present paper aims to discuss death as an important theme in Angelou's “When Great Trees Fall” and ‘The Lesson”. The paper will further investigate Angelou’s use of language in the poems to express the emotion of loss and grief. It will also try to give insight into Angelou’s philosophy of life and death, and how she overcomes loss in her life.


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How to Cite
Sadaf, and Dr. Sahar Rahman. “Death and Loss in Maya Angelou’s Poems ‘When Great Tress Fall’ and ‘The Lesson’”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 9, no. 1, Feb. 2024, pp. 55-58,
Research Articles


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Dickinson, Emily. “Because I could not stop for Death”. Poetry Foundation. Accessed 8 January 2024.

Lupton, Mary Jane. Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion. Greenwood Press, 1998.