Singing the black mother.pdf - Singing the Black Mother Maya Angelou and Autobiographical Continuity Author(s Mary Jane Lupton Source Black American

Singing the black mother.pdf - Singing the Black Mother...

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Singing the Black Mother: Maya Angelou and Autobiographical Continuity Author(s): Mary Jane Lupton Source: Black American Literature Forum, Vol. 24, No. 2, 20th-Century Autobiography (Summer, 1990), pp. 257-276 Published by: African American Review (St. Louis University) Stable URL: Accessed: 10-07-2019 01:00 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at African American Review (St. Louis University) is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Black American Literature Forum This content downloaded from 221.126.230.194 on Wed, 10 Jul 2019 01:00:28 UTC All use subject to
Singing the Black Mother: Maya Angelou and Autobiographical Continuity Mary Jane Lupton Now my problem I have is I love life, I love living life and I love the art of living, so I try to live my life as a poetic adventure, everything I do from the way I keep my house, cook, make my husband happy, or welcome my friends, raise my son; everything is part of a large canvas I am creating, I am living beneath. (Chrisman interview 46) This energetic statement from a 1977 interview with Maya Angelou merely hints at the variety of roles and experiences which sweep through what is presently her five-volume autobiographical series: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), Gather Together in My Name (1974), Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (1976), The Heart of a Woman (1981), and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986).1 It is fitting that Angelou, so adept at metaphor, should compare her "poetic adventure" to the act of painting: ". . . everything is part of a large canvas I am creating, I am living beneath." Like an unfinished painting, the autobiographical series is an ongoing creation, in a form that rejects the finality of a restricting frame. Its continuity is achieved through characters who enter the picture, leave, and reappear, and through certain interlaced themes-self-acceptance, race, men, work, separation, sexuality, motherhood. All the while Angelou lives "beneath," recording the minutest of details in a constantly shifting environment and giving attention to the "mundane, though essential, ordinary moments of life" (O'Neale 34). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first and most highly praised volume in the series. It begins with the humiliations of childhood and ends with the birth of a child. At its publication, Mary Jane Lupton is a member of the English faculty at Morgan State University.

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