Weekend Glory by Maya Angelou

The idea of “weekend glory,” as in the title of the poem by Maya Angelou, probably means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. A weekend, as often interpreted as a break from a long, difficult, or monotonous week, is a very important part of life for many, and most people carry themselves quite differently during their weekend than on the average weekday. Maya Angelou’s Weekend Glory invites her readers to consider what exactly constitutes “glory” in a weekend, and in general, during day-to-day living in a fast-paced world that revolves in many ways around money, earned and spent.


Weekend Glory Analysis

Stanzas 1-2

Weekend Glory, which can be read in full here, is written with a very quick pace and a loose rhyming pattern that gives it an almost upbeat, song-like quality when read aloud. Its immediate use of words such as “clichty,” as well as its casual use of apostrophes in place of the letter “g” to end words such as “ridin’” also aids this process. This is an important stylistic choice made consciously by Angelou that helps to emphasize the content that forms each verse. Within the first two verses, the speaker discusses individuals who feel the need to mask their personalities and lives in public, often by borrowing large sums of money for items such as luxurious cars and expensive condos. Angelou’s quick poem pace mirrors the fast-paced lifestyle of those who are constantly trying to keep up with trends and fashions around them, to appear impressive to their contemporaries.

Angelou’s word choice is key here. Such people are “posin’” and “preenin’” — an interesting alliteration, considering the “p” sound is not especially euphonic — according to the speaker, which suggests fair disdain towards the idea of posing in a lifestyle that is not a person’s own. These verses introduce the idea that a person pretending to live a good life for optical purposes actually looks worse than simply admitting that they actually don’t.

 

Stanzas 3-4

The speaker in the poem goes on to describe their own lifestyle insofar as others view it, and how it compares to their own personality. The third verse, two lines in all, is set on its own because it contains within it the core idea that forms the poem. The fourth verse returns to regular form, and begins to describe the speaker’s life in very simple terms: they work at a plant of some kind, make enough to live comfortably, and when they do purchase luxuries of any kind, they do so because they feel the personal need to do so. The example given is that of getting their hair done, which they’ll do just because they want their hair to look particularly nice, and they can afford to do so.

The primary purpose of the fourth verse is to create contrast with the first two. While the pace is just as fast, the actual content differs so significantly that the verse stands out quite a bit from the rest of the poem. The narrator’s life is the exact opposite of the lifestyle they seem to hold in disdain, and they consider their own  life to be the “right” one to live.

 

Stanzas 5-6

The next two verses continue to describe the speaker’s lifestyle and Angelou appears to have given them particular detail to shine a light on the light-hearted, seemingly happier decisions expressed in this story. These verses speak of friends, of music, of laughter, and of dancing, all with positive notes and warm atmosphere. In particular the line, “And turn away from worry” is telling, depicting this as a conscious decision, even if it is a temporary one. This poem describes a more grounded life, one that focuses less on the glances of others, and more on the happiness of the person actually living the life, a refreshing perspective that is told in simple, direct conventions. Aside from the rhyming, there is fairly little to these verses in the way of poetic devices, but the structure and word choices help it to transcend from observations about going out on the weekends into a warm atmosphere, and a happy pace to a good story about a good life.

 

Stanzas 7-8

The last two verses introduce the concept that the speaker is a person of colour, and with it, a subtle theme of equality, pointing out that “living day to day” is something that everyone does, and cannot help doing either. The last verse attempts to reiterate the idea that balancing a work life and a personal life is crucial for happiness in day-to-day living, and that luxuries are useless if they are purchased for other people, rather than the person who owns them. Lastly, the idea of being happy not because life is heaven — because it probably isn’t — but because it isn’t hell, and that’s worth something. Artificial heavens, such as those described in the early verses of the poem, are, based on the setup of Weekend Glory, considered meaningless by the narration, and it seems that Maya Angelou wished to encourage people to think about these ideas in their own lives, as each reader attempts to balance their own professional and personal lives with as much grace as they can.

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