Maya Angelou Motherhood

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Maya Angelou

By consistently weaving the theme of motherhood into her literature,

Maya Angelou creates both personal narratives and poems that the reader

can relate to. Her exploration of this universal theme lends itself to a

very large and diverse audience. Throughout Angelou's works, she allows

her followers to witness her metamorphosis through different aspects of


Well-worked themes are always present in Angelou's works- self-

acceptance, race, men, work, separation, sexuality, and motherhood.

However, Angelou uses the latter to provide "literary unity" (Lupton 7-8).

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, to
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She sees only

a woman that many people, both white and black, respect. The general

store that Annie owns is the center of activity in Stamps. This

centralization of the store has a direct correlation to the way Annie is

the moral center of Maya's childhood family (Lupton 8-9).

After ten years of living with Momma Henderson, Maya and Bailey are

sent to join their mother in St. Louis. By the time the children are in

their teens, they have covered the western portion of the United States,

traveling between their parents' separate homes and Momma Henderson's in

Arkansas. Each move greets them with a different set of relatives or

another of their parents' lovers.

The turmoil that Maya undergoes causes her to question many aspects

of herself. As a young woman she begins to doubt her sexual preference

and engages in a onetime sexual encounter to prove her sexuality. After

this experience, Maya finds herself pregnant. Angelou ends her first book

with the birth of her son, Guy. This occurrence lends itself to a note of

awakening that carries through Maya's next book, Gather Together In My


Between the conclusion of Caged Bird and the beginning of Gather

Together, there is practically no break in the narrative. The former ends

with Guy's birth and the latter when he is just a few months old. In its

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