By: Monika • Essay • 955 Words • February 19, 2010 • 439 Views
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This piece of autobiographical works is one of the greatest pieces of literature and will continue to inspire young and old black Americans to this day be cause of her hard and racially tense background is what produced an eloquent piece of work that feels at times more fiction than non fiction
In 1970, a child with skinny legs and muddy skin was introduced into African American literature. Born marguerite Johnson she became known as Maya Angelou (Lupton 51). Her critically acclaimed works have changed the way of the African American autobiography is written.
Angelou well known as an entertainer was urged by James Baldwin and by the cartoonist Jules fifer and his wife Judy to try her hand at writing an autobiography. After several refuels she agreed the results was a unique series of autobiographical narratives. I know why the caged bird sings is the first of Maya Angelous’s five autobiographies. It covers her life form the age of three when her parents send her and her brother bailey to live with their paternal grandmother Annie Henderson in stamps Arkansas until the age of sixteen when she becomes a mother. Annie is the main influence on her childhood.(Lupton 24).during her stay at her grandmothers Maya is raped by her mothers boyfriend Mr. freeman who warns her to be silent or he will kill her brother bailey . after the trial freeman dies after being violent beaten ,presumably by Mayas unless. Maya indeed silent mute she cannot will speak. The silent Maya is returned to momma Henderson though reaming speech less for five years until she recovers her voice through patient help of her grandmother’s friend Mrs. bertha flowers.(Lupton 52).
Many of the problems Marguerite encounters in her childhood stem from the prejudices of her white neighbors who treat her family at the best with cool respect and, at the worst, blatant contempt.
These events, along with Marguerite's feelings As Marguerite grows up, she experiences many other instances of racism, including an old white woman who shortens her name to "Mary," hence reducing her unique name to an ordinary one; when white speakers at a graduation ceremony's subtle disparagement of the black audience by implying their limited job opportunities; and the white town dentist's refusal to operate on Marguerite's rotting tooth, even when Momma reminds him of a loan he owed her.(Anderson 43)
One of the main themes of this book is race and appearance; Maya already establishes that she wanted to be a movie-star looking white girl as a child, and tried to deny her real appearance. Connected with the idea of race is beauty, as Maya describes images of blond hair and blue eyes as the paragon of beauty, and says her appearance is merely a "black ugly dream" that she will wake out of.
Maya was an imaginative child, as she envisions her "head [bursting] like a dropped watermelon" from trying to hold her bladder. Angelou shows a talent for using images to explain and clarify feelings, and employing her descriptive powers to make even mundane incidents very vivid.
All of her stories are centered around the themes of family, self-discovery, and motherhood, though in terms of writing style and plot each of them is different. Maya's mother Vivian Baxter and her son Guy, born at the end of this book, are also important figures throughout Angelou's life story.
As an autobiography, Caged Bird it features first-person narration, is organized chronologically, and is focused on the