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What are the origins of Modern American Autobiography What changes have there been since c.1950-present - Essay Example

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A lot of American literature has been written in form of autobiography. This paper will compare the literatures in this category written at different times in history. Three different texts will be used to achieve this. …
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What are the origins of Modern American Autobiography What changes have there been since c.1950-present
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Download file to see previous pages A lot of American literature has been written in form of autobiography. This paper will compare the literatures in this category written at different times in history. Three different texts will be used to achieve this. One of the texts this paper is going to focus on is Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which was written at the end of the struggle for civil rights in America in1960s. The second text that this paper is going to focus on is The Autobiography of Malcolm X which is based on the interviews Malcolm X himself had given to the journalist by the name Alex Haley and was published in1965. Lastly this paper will be based on Prozac Nation written by Elizabeth Wurtzel and published in 1994. Comparison between the Autobiography of Malcolm X, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Prozac Nation:These three texts have quit a number of similarities despite the fact that they were written by different authors at different times. To start with they are all autobiographies. They portray deep inner conflicts within the individuals who they focus on. Malcolm X for instance having been born to a white father and a black mother had to deal with racial discrimination right from birth. He hates the discrimination against the African-American with passion and aggressively confronts it throughout his life (Clasby 19). Just like Malcolm X, Maya Angelou found herself in the midis of racial discrimination right from a tender age. She thought that she was ugly just because she was black. The inner conflicts affected her so much that she would even grease her legs with Vaseline and dust them with red clay just to musk the black color. Prozac Nation tells the story of Elizabeth Wurtzel who also had inner conflicts to deal with although hers did not stem from racial segregation. For her, she suffered a lot of depression after her parents had divorced and his father abandoned her and her mother. As she puts it, she became the casualty of her parent’s differences, despite her innocence and lack of active role in the same. Since the texts are autobiographies of different people written by different others, it goes with out saying that they have outstanding differences. Malcolm X hates segregation right from the word go. He never regrets having been born a black person but he fights to elevate the condition of the black people. He encourages the black Americans to focus their effort towards making their own assets. He also urges the black to patronize their own as much as possible and by so doing start building the ability of the black race to be self reliant. He goes further to argue that the white man cannot give the black man self respect. He suggests that the only way in which the black man can gain respect and be considered as being equal to other human beings is by doing for himself what other races are doing for themselves. He emphasizes that the black Americans bear the responsibility of lifting up his own sense of values. Although Maya Angelou of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is also faced with racial discrimination, she takes a different approach towards the monster. As a young girl, she accepts that being black made her inferior. In fact she considered herself ugly and even tried to musk the black color using some red clay that she dusted on her legs after greasing them with Vaseline. She admired the white girls and sometimes imagined herself being one. When she became an adult, she wrote that “If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat” (Cage Bird 6). Even though Maya has several admirable traits, she is made to feel like a second class human being by the white girls who laugh at her and under treat her. However as an adult, Maya outgrows this stereotype and she develops into a strong and independent woman. Her attitude towards the black women and the African Americans ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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