Essay on Maya Angelou

2011 Words 9 Pages
The book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of writer and poet Maya Angelou. It is the first of six volumes about Maya’s life and the hardships she faced growing up and even in adulthood. This book covers the years from the early 1930's, up until about 1970. Out of the six, it is probably the most popular and critically acclaimed volume, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of personality and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. All of her volumes center around the themes of family, self-discovery, and motherhood, though in expressions of writing fashion and plot each of the books are different. At the beginning of the book abandoned by their parents …show more content…
Her autobiographies, beginning with Caged Bird, contain a series of lessons about resisting domination. The series she describes leads her, as the protagonist, from helpless anger and hatred to forms of slight struggle, and finally to outright and active disapproval.
For the first five years of her life, Maya thinks of herself as an orphan and finds comfort in the thought that her mother was dead. Her feelings for and relationship with her own mother, whom she blames for leaving her, express themselves in doubt and repressed violent behavior. For example, she and her brother destroy the first Christmas gifts that they received from their mother. These strong feelings are not dealt with until the end of the book, when she becomes a mother herself, and her mother finally becomes the encouraging presence for which she has wanted all this time. The two main motherly influences on her life change as well; Vivian plays a more active role, while Momma fades into the background as Maya, by becoming a mother herself, moves from childhood to adulthood. An event in the book that solidifies Maya's identity is her trip to Mexico with her father, when she has to drive a car for the first time. Contrasted with her experience in Stamps, she is finally in control of her destiny. This experience is very important to her growth, as is the incident that directly follows it, her short period of homelessness after arguing…

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