Biography Of Maya Angelou Essay

1391 words - 6 pages

Maya Angelou is a phenomenal poet of the 21st century whose words have impacted many individuals. Angelou’s personal past experiences have allowed her to feel pain and have given her the ability to connect with those who have hardship in their lives. Her main audience is african american women however, anyone can find inspiration within her words. Her style allows for people of all ages to connect with her and her poetry. Maya’s passion for writing is tangible as well has her experience as a writer. Without her, modern poetry would not be the same.
Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri as Marguerite Annie Johnson. Maya Angelou was raised both in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. At a young age, Maya’s parents separated, and she had to say goodbye to her mother to go live with her father in Stamps, Arkansas. One of the most impacting events in her life happened at the age of seven, during a family get together with her mother’s boyfriend at the time. The man raped Maya and soon after, her uncles found out what had happened, and they decided to take matters into their own hands. Her uncles killed the man who had raped her, and Maya became so influenced by this experience that she decided to no longer speak, “spend[ing] years as a virtual mute.”( During the second World War, Maya moved to San Francisco, California and studied at the California Labor School. In 1944 when Maya was 16, she gave birth to her first and only son, Guy. She was a single mother who worked multiple jobs to support her family. Throughout her life, Maya has faced racial discrimination as well as sexual assault and has turned her pain into redemption through her poems.
One of her most famous poems I know why the caged bird sings is a reflection of her life and how when she was a child, she felt caged by the world and by the things that happened to her. In the poem she says his wings are clipped and / his feet are tied showing that she felt like she was trapped by someone elses’ grip and she couldn’t control her own life for a long period of time. “Angelou re-creates her child-self in the persona of Marguerite Johnson” states Suzette A. Henke of Facts on FIle (Henke). Referring to her past self using her past name to recreate her own character. This supports the idea that her writing was based off of her previous experiences. I believe that she thought of herself as caged and possibly the only way to get out was to change her name and create a new person for herself. Throughout her poem she goes on to say that the cage bird sings. The caged bird sings / with fearful trill / of the things / unknown / but longed for still, shes saying that even though the bird may never get out, it still has hope for its future. The “bird” is longing to be freed from the cage so it can fly away and fulfill its’ life. The entire poem is a metaphor for Maya Angelou herself as she speaks of how she used to feel, and how even though everything seemed to “cage”...

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