Maya Angelou Essay

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Her life was never easy. From the time she was born, Maya Angelou was subjected to racism, rape, grief and dehumanization. She beared enough emotional stress in a time frame that most people don't experience in a lifetime. Yet she prevailed. She forced herself to become stronger. And in doing so, she produced writings, which in turn, helped others to become strong. Her experiences and the lessons learned gave her confidence to be a teacher, a preacher, and an inspiration to millions. Maya Angelou was courageous. Based on Angelou’s most prestigious autobiography, I Know Why
The Caged Bird Sings, along with others, certainly reveals the occurring hardships and misfortunes of her life. In Maya Angelou’s first published
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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, prevails in moments where metaphors correspond perfectly to the emotions of Maya Angelou’s relationship with Annie Henderson, her grandmother, whom Angelou referred to as Momma Henderson. It is distinctly exemplified when three white girls perform a handstand pantyless in front of Momma Henderson revealing their power of white sexuality in front of a superior woman. Momma just hymns a song showing her granddaughter how to react to the ridicules of the
“powhitetrash.” Steven Butterfeld of American Writers views Momma’s reaction as a victory in self control(American Writers 3). Angelou exhibits a similar spirit when describing her visit with Momma to a white dentist who reveals that he would rather put his hands in a dog’s mouth than a niggers(Contemporary Literary Criticism 12 12). The appalling parallel between the “dog” and the “nigger” narrates the account of dehumanization noted by African American writers. The most powerful emotional response in the first autobiography, I
Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is Angelou’s contrary speech after being raped by her mothers lover. On page four of American Writers the author describes the speech in the language used by Angelou describing the tragic episode: Then there was the pain. A breaking and entering when even the senses are torn apart. The act of

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