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“Graduation” - Maya Angelou essay

❶Mother and child know why the caged bird sings, and they will sing their song together.

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Maya Angelou American Literature Analysis

Confused and terrified by this act and the subsequent murder of Freeman—a murder that the child mistakenly thinks she has caused—Angelou becomes a voluntary mute and lives in a world of silence for nearly five years.

She is healed by Bertha Flowers, a woman in Stamps, to which Maya returns. Flowers extends friendship to the mute Maya, a friendship that beckons the young girl to leave her self-imposed silence and embrace a new world of words, poems, songs, and a journal that chronicles this new stage in her life.

Moving to Oakland and then San Francisco in , at the age of thirteen, Maya rejoins her mother and deals with dislocation and displacement still again. At this point in her life, however, she is maturing and learning that the role of victim, while still a role to which she is assigned, is also a role played by others—blacks and whites.

She learns that the human challenge is to deal with, protest against, and rise above the trap of being victimized and exploited. In the final scene of the novel, Angelou is not merely a young woman coming to this realization for herself; she is a young mother who has just borne a son and who is therefore struggling to see how she can be responsible not only for herself but also for another.

The book ends with this sense of mutual responsibility and mutual survival: Mother and child know why the caged bird sings, and they will sing their song together. In her fifth autobiography, Angelou relates her pilgrimage to Ghana, where she seeks to understand her African roots.

The source of security, she comes to learn, is not in a place but within oneself. Angelou chooses to live in Ghana following the end of her marriage. Angelou joins a group of black Americans who have come to Ghana to be part of the great experiment. Angelou hopes that she and her son will find a land freed of the racial bigotry she has faced wherever she has lived or traveled.

Hopeful and idealistic, she sets herself up for disappointment and disillusion. During her three-year stay in Africa, she is not welcomed as she has expected to be; even more painful, she is frequently ignored by the very people with whom she thinks she shares roots, the Africans.

As she tries to understand this new kind of pain and homelessness, she also struggles with the sense of having two selves, an American self and an African self.

A stunning example of this struggle occurs when the black American community in Ghana, together with some sympathetic Ghanaians, decides to support the August 27, , March on Washington—the march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The march does not have the impact its participants hope it will have because the demonstrators, including Angelou, are ambivalent about who they are, where they are, and where their quest for security is leading them.

This ambivalence is dramatized when one of the marchers jeers a black soldier who is raising the American flag in front of the American embassy, prompting Angelou to reflect on the fact that the Stars and Stripes was the flag of the expatriates and, more important, their only flag. The recognition of her divided self continues during the remainder of her stay in African, including during time spent with Malcolm X. The volatile activist has a profound impact upon Angelou, who had met him two years earlier but who sees him and hears his words from her current context of an orphan looking for a home and looking for reasons to stay in that home.

As she observes the various personalities Malcolm X exhibits—from big-brother adviser to spokesperson against oppression and for revolutions—she reflects upon his commitment to changing the status quo in the United States.

Ultimately, Angelou is compelled to return to the United States. She leaves, having become aware that home is not a geographical location but a psychological state. Shortly after she lands in California, he is assassinated before her work with him can begin. Her brother takes his grief-stricken sister to Hawaii, where she sings in nightclubs, with no notable success. Therefore, she is not surprised by the outbreak of violence and senses the riots before she learns of them.

We smelled the conflagration before we heard it, or even heard about it. Burning wood was the first odor that reached my nose, but it was soon followed by the smell of scorched food, then the stench of smoldering rubber. We had one hour of wondering before the television news reporters arrived breathlessly. After a stormy encounter with her former lover, Angelou returns to New York, where she meets Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, history repeats itself.

Before she can go south for the movement, King also is assassinated. Again devastated, Angelou becomes a recluse until writer James Baldwin invites her to a dinner with glittering New York literati that reawakens her passion for writing.

Friends encourage her to write and to begin by writing her life. Eventually, Angelou moves back to California and, in an effort to make spiritual sense of and triumph over her experiences, begins to write. A Song Flung Up to Heaven ends with her writing the first few lines of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , opening the gate to her most important career and yet circling back nicely to her first, most beloved book. A Song Flung Up to Heaven engrosses the reader with its portrait of a sensitive woman caught up in some of the most important events of the twentieth century.

It is also compelling because of its simple yet poetic and intimate style. Angelou recounts her story as if confiding to a friend.

The Autobiographical Works of Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou takes another look at herself". The New York Times. The Phenomenal Woman Rises Again". New York Amsterdam News. Random House Publishing Group. Retrieved May 17, The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou illustrated ed. Preparing Yourself for Leaving Home.

Archived from the original on 11 February Retrieved 28 May New York Daily News. Retrieved September 2, Retrieved 16 November Works by Maya Angelou. Georgia, Georgia Sister, Sister Down in the Delta

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This essay on the poem Phenomenal Woman1 by Maya Angelou will answer that question. For those who have read Maya Angelou's poem from know it is a celebration of life as a successful woman, being highly powerful and dramatic, the poem is written to perform for an audience.

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Essays and criticism on Maya Angelou - Critical Essays. Maya Angelou Maya Angelou is one of the great figures in contemporary American literature. Her poetry helps spread the word of equality to African American women and to all those who are oppressed. It is for this reason, she has received so much critical acclaim.

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Free Essays from Bartleby | the time she was born, Maya Angelou was subjected to racism, rape, grief and dehumanization. She beared enough emotional stress. Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou is one of the most famous African-American women figures. As well as an inspiring figure as a poet, Maya is also well known to have been a great actress, educator, historian, author, playwright, director and producer (denisseportal.tk).