Gather Together In Maya's Name. Speaks Of The Author Maya Angelou And How She Allows Her Followers To Witness Her Metamorphosis Through Different Aspects Of Motherhood

1008 words - 4 pages

By consistently weaving the theme of motherhood into her literature, MayaAngelou creates both personal narratives and poems that the reader can relate to.Her exploration of this universal theme lends itself to a very large and diverseaudience. Throughout Angelou's works, she allows her followers to witness hermetamorphosis through different aspects of motherhood.Well-worked themes are always present in Angelou's works- self-acceptance, race, men, work, separation, sexuality, and motherhood. However,Angelou uses the latter to provide 'literary unity' (Lupton 7-8).Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, toVivian Baxter and Bailey Johnson. After three years her parents divorced, andboth Maya and her older brother Bailey, were sent to Stamps, Arkansas. Once inStamps, the children were cared for by their paternal grandmother, Mrs. AnnieHenderson (Neubauer 21).In her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou tells the storyof her childhood. She also makes the reader keenly aware of her close connectionwith her grandmother. Stephen Butterfield says of Caged Bird (in his BlackAutobiography in America, 1974): 'Continuity is achieved by the contact ofmother and child, the sense of life begetting life that happens automatically in spiteof all confusion- perhaps also because of it.'Annie Henderson is a God-fearing, independent woman whose firm handleads Maya throughout many rough spots in her childhood. It is through Mrs.Henderson's values of self-determination and personal dignity that Maya's idea thatshe is 'shit color' slowly fades away (Vermillion 33).Maya fails to see her grandmother's negative traits. She sees only a womanthat many people, both white and black, respect. The general store that Annieowns is the center of activity in Stamps. This centralization of the store has adirect correlation to the way Annie is the moral center of Maya's childhood family(Lupton 8-9).After ten years of living with Momma Henderson, Maya and Bailey are sentto join their mother in St. Louis. By the time the children are in their teens, theyhave covered the western portion of the United States, traveling between theirparents' separate homes and Momma Henderson's in Arkansas. Each move greetsthem with a different set of relatives or another of their parents' lovers.The turmoil that Maya undergoes causes her to question many aspects ofherself. As a young woman she begins to doubt her sexual preference and engagesin a onetime sexual encounter to prove her sexuality. After this experience, Mayafinds herself pregnant. Angelou ends her first book with the birth of her son, Guy.This occurrence lends itself to a note of awakening that carries through Maya'snext book, Gather Together In My Name.Between the conclusion of Caged Bird and the beginning of GatherTogether, there is practically no break in the narrative. The former ends withGuy's birth and the latter when he is just a few months old. In its totality, GatherTogether tells the story of...

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