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1Maya Angelou was a woman who embodied strength, poise, and activism with her literary works. She displayed the meaning of the “Phenomenal Woman” she wrote about. She had a gift for taking words and giving them life to help with the adversities African Americans faced. She gave the weak a strength in words and a faith to conquer the world. Maya Angelou evolved into an influential and respected woman who overcame obstacles. Her courage showed through her works of literature. In her life story, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou attributes her characteristics she has acquired today, being influential, wise, and respected, to Mrs. Flowers, who shows her the power of a voice, the knowledge of literature, and pride in her race, and turns a self-conscious girl, into one of the most profound writers of our time. Mrs. Flowers enlightened Maya on the importance, and dominant effect, of expression through an individual voice. Earlier in her life, Maya was sexually molested and raped, and as a result, became dormant towards society. This was such a traumatizing event in her life that struck her obviously,in a physical sense, mentally. As a result of this, Mrs. Flowers stepped in and told Maya to “bear in mind, language is man’s way of communicating with his fellow man and it is language alone which separates him from the lower animals”(Angelou 1969). The intellect and beauty of Mrs. Flowers was shown through this quote which she educated Maya. Without Mrs. Flowers introduction and reasoning to speech, Maya would never have realized the power of the voice and would have been dormant from society the rest of her life. Maya Angelou now realized the truth and what can be solved through knowledge and what can be solved through imagination. She had always understood poetry greatly; especially for a poor black child who received a limited education, but never made the connection that a novel would and put it into perspective
2to the reality of life. With all of this understanding and appreciation in regard to literature, Maya became the acclaimed author that she is today.