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Maya Angelou Essay

1166 words - 5 pages

09/19/2014Maya Angelou - GraduationGraduation is an important transition time in every person's life. It is aboutmoving on to something better and more important and to use your knowledge toachieve life goals. This is what the children attending the grammar school believed aswell, including Maya Angelou. Given from her point of view, the story Graduation hasethos because as an African American girl, she shared the same thoughts and feelingsas everyone standing on the stage or in the auditorium when Mr. Edward Donleavypassively demeaned everything the students had worked so hard to achieve. This storyis told by a women who had surpassed all of the difficulties in life to get to this day, andthrough her learned, and personal, figurative, and detailed writing, has been able topass on both the ill feelings and the warm feelings of that experience from Mr.Donleavy's speech, to that of Henry Reed.! What Angelou does best is evoke feelings and empathy from her readers. Byrelating to them and broadcasting her emotions for everyone to see, she emphasizesher sense of being wronged. When she is describing the excitement and anxiety in thepeople around her, she is relating to what everyone feels when they are about tograduate. "The children in Stamps trembeled visibly with anticipation...the whole youngpopulation had come down with graduation epidemic." (22). This is the opening of thestory. Immediately what does it make you think about? Graduation. Your graduation,whether in the past or the future. This helps her connect with her readers from the verybeginning before them knowing the full setting of the story or who she is. Figurativelanguage also allows her readers to picture the events and is prominent throughoutAngelouʼs work: "She smocked the yoke into tiny crisscrossing puckers....embroideredraised daisies...added a crocheted cuff..." (24). This was an entire paragraph dedicatedto the detail her mother added to her dress. This concrete information she included onlyadded to the believability of her story and the significance of the moment. Whendescribing the scents coming from the home economics building with such preciseness,she clarifies the fact that everything is clear and the little things made all the differenceon that memorable day. Everything in the story was told with such intricate detail.! Even the minuscule features of her writing surprisingly gave off small hints ofsomething more. When Angelou states "I was headed for the freedom of openfields." (24) it is somewhat a reminder of slavery. Although in reality it is talking aboutfreedom from school, there is a long history of slavery in America and the inequality ofAfrican Americans to whites; when the word "freedom" is used when referring to AfricanAmericans, many tend to associate it with freedom from slavery. This may evoke pityfrom the reader, or simply add intrigue from how she connects it with school. Inequalitybetween African Americans and whites was emphasized strongly by Angelou....

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