Caged Bird Sings” By: Ashley brown Ashley Brown Accelerated English I 4.30.99 Reardon Maya Angelou?s turbulent experiences through late childhood and adolescence transformed into an almost a positive force in her adult life as they helped enlighten, inspire, motivate and shape her very being. They provided her the vehement fuel that drive her achingly powerful words and allowed her the knowledge and wisdom that led to self-discovery and eventually knowledge of self, two endeavors that most of humanity is never able or perhaps willing to acquire. Her vivid and startlingly real descriptions of everything from a wild and raucous church revival to her sometimes pitiful crippled Uncle Willie illustrate her life perfectly, easily transitioning from one happening to another.
The description of the truculent and heinous rape she endured at the formative age of eight is as disturbing as it is brutally honest and straight-forward, which seems most necessary Maya has a luminous gift for seeing people; she understands the core of who they are–a rare ability that stems from her own self-knowledge and inner peace. She admires or is displeased with others for characteristics and idiosyncrasies that other people had neither enough sagacity nor intelligence to see. She once says of her Uncle Willie: “Uncle Willie…was the whipping boy and butt of jokes…He was also proud and sensitive.” Maya realizes how children act toward cripples, because this is how she acted toward her Uncle Willie—occasionally teasing and often impatient. Maya saw along with disability the other largely discriminated against yet uncontrollable factor of birth–color of skin.
... and idealized him as a father figure. Angelo,Maya. “Uncle Willie”. Thinking on paper: A reading writing process workbook. Fouth edition. ... crippled didn’t affect who the person inside he was. Uncle Willie became grumpy and seen himself as the useless person people ... appearance of a person, instead people automatically criticize each other. Uncle willie was a person that the society never gave a chance ...
She seemed to understand the pathetic ignorance and contempt behind the “white folks” treatment of her people even at a very young age. This is a painful and incredibly cruel realization, and she once comments on its severity: “If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.” Maya knows that being a self-aware Southern black girl arguably creates the most difficult life one could know; it adds manifold to the normal childhood and teenage strain of growing up. Again, her self-awareness that allows her to speak on the human condition with such wisdom as an adult is the same knowledge that enabled her as a young child and woman to see her peers and elders in a much different light than a typical young person.
... Lastly, Momma was the single most important person in Maya’s young life. The list of ways in which she affected ... of the utmost influences on her. Many people in Maya Angelou’s young life had a powerful sway over her, but ... her experience with poetry, writing and general literature. Maya became a more educated young lady due to her meetings with Mrs. Flowers ...
Her self-awareness obviously also gives her insight into her own self; she doesn?t claim to be wise or all-knowing, and she was often naive as a child and teen; but what perhaps sets her above is that in retrospect she sees her past artlessness, naivete and absurd insecurities. An instance is the event that indirectly led to her pregnancy at a very young sixteen years old. When questioning her own sexual orientation because of a suspected growth on her body, she decides to consult her seemingly all-knowing mother; her mother quickly reassures her that what is happening to her body is natural. Maya responds with: “I thought maybe I was turning into a lesbian”. This inane paranoia led to her early pregnancy when the prior sexual imperviousness that had been a consequence of the tremendous violation she experienced faded and she was overwhelmed with a dire need to affirm her femininity and heterosexuality by engaging in sexual intercourse with a male, even with a boy she cared little or nothing about.
Maya is able to extract from these experiences, whether they were pleasant or traumatic, and transform the wisdom into purely beautiful and sincerely evocative tales in a lucid yet elegant way that illuminates her fluid writing. Bibliography 1. Angelou, Maya. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. Published 1983. Bantam Books.