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Maya Angelou: An Example Of Perseverance

1351 words - 5 pages

Maya Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, dropped out of high school, was a teenage mom, and constantly dealt with racism. Who would have thought that someone who had gone through so much would someday be such a confident, inspirational woman? Maya Angelou’s confidence in herself and the African American race that she demonstrates in her poetry gives others courage to speak for themselves. Three poems by Angelou that display her confidence are “Still I Rise,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and “Phenomenal Woman.” While each poem is written differently, they all express confidence and the idea of having the courage to stand up for oneself.
Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. According to “Maya Angelou - Biography,” growing up, Maya had to deal with racism and discrimination towards African Americans. When she was young, she was very interested in arts and music, and as a teenager, Maya earned a dance and drama scholarship in San Francisco, California. When she was 14 years old, she dropped out of school and she worked many jobs to support her and her family (Maya Angelou - Biography). Poetryfoundation.org states that Maya finished high school when she was 17 years old and had her first son, Guy, not long after graduation (Maya Angelou).
Maya Angelou - The Official Website says that in 1960, Maya moved to Egypt, and later to Ghana. She met Malcolm X in Ghana in 1964, and would later go back to the U.S. with him to start an organization in support of African Americans. Maya was eventually asked by Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Maya Angelou - Biography). In 1970, Maya Angelou published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was incredibly successful, and a bestseller (Maya Angelou - Biography). She went on to write many literary works and appear in multiple films. One big moment in Maya’s career was in 1993 when she read her poem, On the Pulse of the Morning, at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, which was shown live on televisions all across the globe (Maya Angelou - Biography). Maya Angelou has become a very famous writer and has won numerous awards. She has had a very strong influence on the African American race, and her poetry has given courage to many people who lacked the confidence to speak for themselves.
One poem that demonstrates Maya Angelou’s confidence is “Still I Rise.” In the poem, Angelou repeatedly says that no matter how many times she is insulted and put down, her self-confidence will always give her the strength to rise and overcome it. According to a criticism from Bloom’s Literature, “In spite of adversity, dire conditions and circumstances; in site of racial epithets, scorn, and hostility, Angelou expresses unshakeable faith that one will overcome; one will triumph; one will Rise!” (Hagen). One stanza that demonstrates Maya’s confidence is, “You may shoot me with your words/ You may cut me with your eyes/ You may...

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