Maya Can Not Finish, What Are You Looking At Me For? Essay

1665 Words Nov 1st, 2016 7 Pages
The lines from the poem Maya cannot finish, "What are you looking at me for? I didn 't come to stay . . ." capture two of the most significant issues she struggles with in her childhood and young adulthood: feeling ugly and awkward and never feeling attached to one place. First, Maya imagines that though people judge her unfairly by her awkward looks, they will be surprised one day when her true self emerges. At the time, she hopes that she will emerge as if in a fairy-tale as a beautiful, blond white girl. By the age of five or six, Maya has already begun to equate beauty with whiteness, a sign that the racism rampant in the society in which she grows up has infiltrated her mind. Second, uprooted and sent away from her parents at age three, Maya has trouble throughout her life feeling that she belongs anywhere or that she has "come to stay." Her sense of displacement may stem in part from the fact that black people were not considered full-fledged Americans, but primarily she feels abandoned by her family. When she and Bailey arrive in Stamps, the note posted on their bodies is not addressed to Annie Henderson, but rather "To Whom It May Concern."
The opening scene in the church introduces these important issues while also conveying the frustration, humiliation, disillusionment, and, finally, liberation that define Maya 's childhood. The childish voice scatters throughout Angelou 's adult reflections suggests that she is probably five or six years old at the time of the…

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