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Maya Angelou - Research Paper Example

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Maya Angelou Maya Angelou has been labeled as “America’s most visible black female autobiographer” (Braxton) and is a prominent poet and author. Her claim to fame has been her series of six autobiographical volumes that are largely centered on her childhood as well as her adult experiences…
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Maya Angelou Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages In addition, Angelou has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for her poetic volume titled Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie (Moyer). Recently Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom that is the highest civilian honor in the United States. On the political side Angelou was an active member of the esteemed Harlem Writers Guild that was instrumental to the Civil Rights Movement. Her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement are numerous and undeniable. She served with Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement that speaks for her involvement in the movement. Angelou has been differentiated from other authors based on her representation of autobiographical fiction. Her first published work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings saw her being heralded as a pioneer in a generation of new memoirist. The work was the first of its kind in its projection of the lives of African American women. Angelou’s public discourse on her personal life made the work all the more interesting and controversial at the same time. Her efforts over the years through her work and her public dialogue have made her an unofficial spokesperson of African American people and women (Lupton). Within the domain of her written work, Angelou has done her best to challenge the traditional structure of autobiographies. This can be seen as a deliberate attempt on the author’s part given her pervasive use of critique, changes and expansion of the frontiers of memoirs. Most of Angelou’s work is based on themes such as racism, identity crisis and familial issues. While retaining the interest of the audience using unconventional techniques, Angelou has nonetheless raised controversy after controversy so that some of her works have been banned inside the United States. Her work can be gauged better if it is seen through the lens of the author’s personal experiences and her reflections in her memoirs. This text will attempt to analyze Angelou’s work and personal experiences in order to paint a better picture of the author’s struggle against racial injustice. One of the primary themes in Angelou’s work is racism that can be traced in her works ranging from the first piece I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to her last piece titled A Song Flung up to Heaven. The author has utilized the metaphor of a caged singing bird that is trying to escape its confine repeatedly in order to portray the author’s personal social confinement. The primary means of this confinement were none other than racism and oppression (Lupton). Another aspect of this metaphor is that the bird is singing from the start of the struggle to its very end indicating a determined spirit who is ready to take onto life as it comes along. Angelou’s personal life is a reflection of this commitment to live through thick and thin alike. Certain critics have observed that Angelou’s perspective on evil in society being diverted at young African American women was instrumental in shaping her ideas from childhood to adulthood (Als). In the start of her works, the author can be seen as “fanatically opposed to white people” (Hagen) however, this can be seen changing as the series progresses. This is not to indicate that the author is somehow racist herself or possess racial hate but it merely indicates the progression of ideas from a young child’s mind to the understanding of an adult person. Throughout the series Angelou ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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