Maya Angelou’s Sounds of Her Life
By: Monika • Essay • 618 Words • February 22, 2010 • 477 Views
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The life of Maya Angelou as shown in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a tale of insecurity, instability, judgment, and triumph. Throughout this journey, Maya bring forth, during her life, how certain things sounded, or did not sound, affected her life and the way she acted. When she was molested and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, her immediate reaction afterwards was to be silent towards everyone. When she and her father go on a trip to Mexico, his silence on her achievements and triumphs affects her outlook on him. The sound of her principal’s voice had affected the way she felt, making it one of her favorites. Maya’s life had a strong connection to the sounds of her life, or lack of.
Ultimately, Maya was convinced that by her telling everyone about Mr. Freeman raping her, however condemning him and lying about the other times he molested her, she caused his death. Thinking that now every time she lies, someone will die, Maya decides to shield others by not speaking to anyone except Bailey. “I had discovered that to achieve perfect personal silence all I had to do was to attach myself leechlike to sound. I began to listen to everything. I probably hoped that after I heard all the sounds…the world would be quiet around me” (87). The lack of sound in Maya’s life due to the rape and lies she said under oath had become the most important thing to her. Her life now became the sound of everyone else, burying the sound she believes can kill; her own voice.
Not only did Maya feel as though her own silence would be an affective hush in her life at one point, but in other aspects of her life, like her relationship with her father, silence helped her out and explained the feelings the two held for each other. As her and her father are returning to the border going into the USA from Mexico, he is drunk and a mess, and Maya is forced to attempt to drive all the way back. When they end up crashing, he is silent about how she helped him return while he was intoxicated. “I was angry that he didn’t appreciate the greatness of my achievement…We