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Analysis Of Graduation Day By Maya Angelou

Decent Essays
Forged by Pain
In 1940, the United States approached the eightieth-year anniversary of the abolition of slavery; however, the social oppression of African American citizens steadily increased. Despite being free for decades, they were still leagues below the white people who owned their ancestors. African American author Maya Angelou recollects on her experience of graduation from the eighth grade in her 1940 piece “Graduation Day.” The narrative not only highlights the importance of the narrator's graduation, but also the expectations of Angelou’s community due to their persecution and separation. Perseverance through separation and persecution forges dignity in an individual.
The separation of the African American displays the importance of graduation day. Angelou was only graduating from the eighth grade, but because of the sociocultural differences, graduation proved momentous in their community. Angelou later states “Oh, it was important, all right. White folks would attend the ceremony, and two or three would speak of God and home, and the Southern way of life” (Angelou, 2014, p. 181). The school making a minute event into a grand celebration conveys much about the state of the position African Americans were subjected to. Angelou displays this later when she describes the scene of small children presented in a play about buttercups and daisies and bunny rabbits and older girls preparing snacks and beverages. Normal society does not make such an event of Middle School
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