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Maya Angelou Angelou, Maya Poetry Criticism - Essay - born marguerite johnson she became known as maya angelou lupton Maya angelou essay on writing her books of autobiographical essays, wouldn't take nothing for my journey now, and even the stars look lonesome, speak eloquently of aging, violence, rage, and black women including her mother and her good friend, oprah winfrey. As english language coursework creative writing. Support coursework info. Dissertation advisor ucla Free Maya Angelou Essays and Papers maya angelou's poem of the struggle to a new wave of equality uses both general symbolism and historical allusion to make its theme clear to the reader.
Bantam Books had to reprint , copies of all her books to keep up with the demand. Angelou has famously said, in response to criticism regarding using the details of her life in her work, "I agree with Balzac and 19th-century writers, black and white, who say, 'I write for money'". Angelou's books, especially I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, have been criticized by many parents, causing their removal from school curricula and library shelves. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, parents and schools have objected to Caged Bird's depictions of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, pornography, and violence.
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Some have been critical of the book's sexually explicit scenes, use of language, and irreverent religious depictions. Caged Bird appeared third on the American Library Association ALA list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of —, sixth on the ALA's — list, and one of the ten books most frequently banned from high school and junior high school libraries and classrooms. Awards and honors. Angelou is one of the most honored writers of her generation. She has been honored by universities, literary organizations, government agencies, and special interest groups. She has served on two presidential committees, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in , the Lincoln Medal in , and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Angelou has been awarded over thirty honorary degrees.
Uses in education. Angelou's autobiographies have been used in narrative and multicultural approaches in teacher education. Jocelyn A.
List of Maya Angelou works - Wikiwand
According to Glazier, Angelou's use of understatement, self-mockery, humor, and irony, have led readers of Angelou's autobiographies unsure of what she "left out" and how they should respond to the events Angelou describes. Angelou's depictions of her experiences of racism has forced white readers to explore their feelings about race and their own "privileged status". Glazier found that although critics have focused on where Angelou fits within the genre of African-American autobiography and on her literary techniques, readers have tended to react to her storytelling with "surprise, particularly when [they] enter the text with certain expectations about the genre of autobiography".
Educator Daniel Challener, in his book, Stories of Resilience in Childhood, analyzed the events in Caged Bird to illustrate resiliency in children.
Maya Angelou: The essential reading list
Challener insisted that Angelou's book has provided a "useful framework" for exploring the obstacles many children like have Maya faced and how communities have helped children succeed as Angelou did. Psychologist Chris Boyatzis has reported using Caged Bird to supplement scientific theory and research in the instruction of child development topics such as the development of self-concept and self-esteem, ego resilience, industry versus inferiority, effects of abuse, parenting styles, sibling and friendship relations, gender issues, cognitive development, puberty, and identity formation in adolescence.
He found the book a "highly effective" tool for providing real-life examples of these psychological concepts.
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Style and genre in Angelou's autobiographies. Angelou's use of fiction-writing techniques such as dialogue, characterization, and development of theme, setting, plot, and language has often resulted in the placement of her books into the genre of autobiographical fiction, but Angelou has characterized them as autobiographies. As feminist scholar Maria Lauret has stated, Angelou has made a deliberate attempt in her books to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre.
Scholar Mary Jane Lupton has insisted that all of Angelou's autobiographies conform to the genre's standard structure: they are written by a single author, they are chronological, and they contain elements of character, technique, and theme. Angelou has recognized that there are fictional aspects to her books; Lupton agreed, stating that Angelou has tended to "diverge from the conventional notion of autobiography as truth", which has paralleled the conventions of much of African-American autobiography written during the abolitionist period of U.
Scholar Lyman B. Hagen has placed Angelou in the long tradition of African-American autobiography, but insisted that Angelou has created a unique interpretation of the autobiographical form. The challenge for much of the history of African-American literature was that its authors have had to confirm its status as literature before they could accomplish their political goals, which was why Angelou's editor Robert Loomis was able to dare her into writing Caged Bird by challenging her to write an autobiography that could be considered "high art".
Angelou has acknowledged that she has followed the slave narrative tradition of "speaking in the first-person singular talking about the first-person plural, always saying I meaning 'we'". Scholar John McWhorter called Angelou's books "tracts" that defended African-American culture and fought against negative stereotypes. According to McWhorter, Angelou structured her books, which to him seemed to be written more for children than for adults, to support her defense of Black culture. McWhorter saw Angelou as she depicted herself in her autobiographies "as a kind of stand-in figure for the Black American in Troubled Times".
Although McWhorter saw Angelou's works as dated, he recognized that "she has helped to pave the way for contemporary black writers who are able to enjoy the luxury of being merely individuals, no longer representatives of the race, only themselves.
Scholar Lynn Z. Bloom has compared Angelou's works to the writings of Frederick Douglass, stating that both fulfilled the same purpose: to describe Black culture and to interpret it for her wider, white audience. According to scholar Sondra O'Neale, whereas Angelou's poetry could be placed within the African-American oral tradition, her prose "follows classic technique in nonpoetic Western forms".
O'Neale stated that although Angelou avoided a "monolithic Black language", she accomplished, through direct dialogue, what O'Neale called a "more expected ghetto expressiveness". McWhorter, however, found both the language Angelou used in her autobiographies and the people she depicted unrealistic, resulting in a separation between her and her audience. As McWhorter stated, "I have never read autobiographical writing where I had such a hard time summoning a sense of how the subject talks, or a sense of who the subject really is".
McWhorter asserted, for example, that Angelou's depiction of key figures like herself, her son Guy, and mother Vivian did not speak as one would expect, and that their speech was "cleaned up".
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Guy, for example, represented the young Black male, while Vivian represented the idealized mother figure. The stiff language Angelou used, both in her text and in the language of her subjects, was intended to prove that Blacks were able to competently use standard English.
McWhorter recognized, however, that much of the reason for Angelou's style was the "apologetic" nature of her writing. When Angelou wrote Caged Bird at the end of the s, one of the necessary and accepted features of literature at the time was "organic unity", and one of her goals was to create a book that satisfied that criteria.
The events in her books were episodic and crafted like a series of short stories, but their arrangements did not follow a strict chronology. Instead, they were placed to emphasize the themes of her books, which include racism, identity, family, and travel. English literature scholar Valerie Sayers has asserted that "Angelou's poetry and prose are similar". They both relied on her "direct voice", which alternated steady rhythms with syncopated patterns and used similes and metaphors e,g.
According to Hagen, Angelou's works have been influenced by both conventional literary and the oral traditions of the African-American community. For example, she referenced over literary characters throughout her books and poetry. In addition, she used the elements of blues music, including the act of testimony when speaking of one's life and struggles, ironic understatement, and the use of natural metaphors, rhythms, and intonations.
Angelou, instead of depending upon plot, used personal and historical events to shape her books. Although Angelou considered herself a playwright and poet when her editor Robert Loomis challenged her to write I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she is best known for her autobiographies.
According to Lupton, many of Angelou's readers identify her as a poet first and an autobiographer second. Washington has called her "the black woman's poet laureate", and has called Angelou's poetry the anthems of African Americans. Angelou has experienced similar success as a poet as she did as an autobiographer. She began, early in her writing career, of alternating the publication of an autobiography and a volume of poetry.
Angelou's most famous poem was "On the Pulse of Morning", which she recited at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in Lupton has insisted that "Angelou's ultimate greatness will be attributed" to the poem, and that Angelou's "theatrical" performance of it, using skills she learned as an actor and speaker, marked a return to the African-American oral tradition of speakers such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. Angelou delivered what Richard Long called her "second 'public' poem", entitled "A Brave and Startling Truth", which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in Also in , she was chosen to recite one of her poems at the Million Man March.
As Angelou's biographers have stated, Angelou had "fallen in love with poetry in Stamps, Arkansas". After her rape at the age of eight, she memorized and studied great works of literature, including poetry, and according to Caged Bird, her friend Mrs. Flowers encouraged her to recite them, which helped bring her out of her muteness. Angelou's biographers have also stated that Angelou's poems "reflect the richness and subtlety of Black speech and sensibilities" and were meant to be read aloud.
Angelou has supported her biographers, telling an interviewer in that she wrote poetry so that it would be read aloud. Scholar Zofia Burr has connected Angelou's "failure to impress professional poetry critics" to both the public nature of many of her poems and to Angelou's popular success, and to critics' preferences for poetry as a written form rather than a verbal performed one. The sun has come. The mist has gone. We see in the distance I was always yours to have. We wear the mask that grins and li It shades our cheeks and hides our This debt we pay to human guile With torn and bleeding hearts… We smile and mouth the myriad subt.
The highway is full of big cars going nowhere fast And folks is smoking anything that Some people wrap their lies around And you sit wondering. Beloveds, now we know that we know Without notice, our dear love can In the instant that Michael is go Though we are many, each of us is Only when we confess our confusion.
Soft grey ghosts crawl up my sleev to peer into my eyes while I within deny their threats and answer them with lies. Mushlike memories perform. Does my sassiness upset you? There are some nights when sleep plays coy, aloof and disdainful. And all the wiles that I employ to win. Your skin like dawn Mine like musk One paints the beginning of a certain end.
The other, the end of a. I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived. When you come to me, unbidden, Beckoning me To long-ago rooms, Where memories lie. Offering me, as to a child, an att. They went home and told their wive that never once in all their lives had they known a girl like me, But They went home. They said my house was licking cle. You drink a bitter draught.
I sip the tears your eyes fight to A cup of lees, of henbane steeped Your breast is hot, Your anger black and cold,. A last love, proper in conclusion, should snip the wings forbidding further flight. But I, now,.
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