Her story is divided into three parts arrival sojourn and departure

Her story is divided into three parts arrival sojourn

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Angelou recalls the life of her childhood days. Her story is divided into three parts: arrival, sojourn, and departure, geographically and psychologically. The story begins with a flashback to an Easter Sunday church scene in the early 1930s, shortly after her arrival from California. This scene is a prologue, which creates the insecurity and lack
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99 of status felt by the child Marguerite. She initially recreates the embarrassment she feels at her inability to remember the four-line poem she recites before the congregation, a situation often experienced by youngsters in similar situation. In this connection, R.A. Gross (1970) says: Angelou opens her autobiography and conveys the diminished sense of herself that pervaded much of her childhood. 4 Angelou recalls preparing for church and struggling with her troublesome body image. She is dressed in a discarded ugly cut-down from a white woman s once-was- purple throwaway , which to her childish perception symbolizes her unacceptable being. She daydreams of having real hair and blue eyes, which, in her young mind, denote affluence and acceptability. A tone of displaced frustration pervades this introductory section, and the reader is immediately won over and becomes a sympathetic confidante. This beginning initiates the journey to establish a worthwhile self-concept. Growing up in Stamps, Arkansas, Maya Angelou describes those long-ago years as a continual struggle against surrender to the very large adults, who, being Black, practiced and taught special traditions. According to these traditions, a good child dropped her eyes when speaking to an adult; a good child spoke softly; a good child never resisted the idea that whites were better, cleaner, or more intelligent than Blacks. Growing up and surviving, as a young girl in the South of the 1930s and early 1940s was a painful experience for a young girl whose world was coloured by disillusion and despair, aloneness, self-doubt, and a diminished sense of self. There are several characters in this autobiography. Let us analyze them with sociological point of view. 1. Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson) Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson) writes about her experiences growing up as a black girl in the rural South and in the cities of St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Maya has an unusual degree of curiosity and perceptiveness. Haunted by her displacement from her biological parents and her sense that she is ugly, Maya
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100 often isolates herself, escaping into her reading. Angelou s autobiography traces the start of her development into an independent, wise, and compassionate woman. At the beginning of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , Maya is a precocious young girl suffering not just from the typical traumas associated with being black and female in America, but also from the trauma of displacement. Smart and imaginative, Maya nevertheless feels that people judge her unfairly due to her ungainly appearance.
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