As a child, Maya Angelou faced difficulties that no child should ever face. At the age of seven, Angelou was raped by a close friend of her grandmother. For years, Angelou struggled with her inner demons. When Angelou transitioned to a woman, stepping into her purpose, she embodied a sense of style in her work. In her line of work, she became a poet, an author, and an activist for the African American people while uniquely using her life struggles to converse to her audience in her style of poetry.
Furthermore, she distinctively styled her poems by adding a motherly figure, while welcoming her southern roots to the world, and walking into being an African-American queen. Maya Angelou has used her themes in poetry to to tell about the black struggles, particularly in the United States. Maya Angelou in particular welcomed in her old surroundings and correlated into her new surroundings of what she saw everyday. Maya Angelou welcomed in her southern roots, in particular, in her poem “Harlem Hopscotch. ” In Harlem Hopscotch, Maya Angelou describe the life of the “blacks” in Harlem as a game of hopscotch.
The game involved struggles. While the players of hopscotch struggle to win, the blacks in Angelou’s, poem struggle to survive. Angelou stated in her poem, “In the air, now both feet down Since you black, don’t stick around. Food is gone, the rent is due, Curse and cry and then jump two. ” (stanza 2). To include, regardless of the title, Angelou fluently included the struggles of all African-Americans during a particular time. Angelou hinted to her audience that African-Americans in the south and the north ached the same pain.
Even though, the south was the highlight of segregation for African-Americans, Angelou cooperatively and smoothly joined the struggles in the north and south. In particular, Angelou voiced to her audience that African-Americans all over the world felt oppression. Moving from African-Americans in the south to AfricanAmerican women, Angelou used her poem “Our Grandmother” to help define how strong Black women are. Angelou embodied the struggle that black women have faced for centuries, and yet black women survive through it all.
Angelou used her style of writing to illuminate the struggles of the slave black woman, the black woman in the 50’s, and the black woman today. Maya stated, “She heard the names, swirling ribbons in the wind of history: nigger, nigger bitch, heifer, mammy, property, creature, ape, baboon, whore, hot tail, thing, it. She said, “But my description cannot fit your tongue, for I have a certain way of being in this world, and I shall not, I shall not be moved. “Angelou embodied her black queendom (stanza 10 and 11). In correlation with “Our Grandmother” poem, written three decades ago, the theme is still prevalent today in black women’s lives.
In 2012, the United States elected their first black president and first lady. However, Michelle Obama, two lvy League graduate, has been called some of the most despicable names in her eight years of office. In particular, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, went on facebook and stated, in response to Michelle Obama being a black woman” it will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, and dignified first lady back in the white house, I’m tired of seeing a ape in heels. ” Still today, African-Americans are able to search on the web were a man called Oprah Winfrey, a successful talk show host and billionaire, a monkey.
To conclude, despite the blatant disrespect from people, Michelle Obama stated,” when they go low, we go high”. In current situation, like Michelle Obama being called an ape in heels leaves many women, especially marginalized women feeling uncomfortable, unworthy, and abashed. For instance, when analyzing ” Our Grandmother” poem, Angelou styled her poem in a way which her audience would feel that same uncomfortness. For example, Angelou included “She gathered her babies, their tears slick as oil on black faces, their young eyes canvassing mornings of madness. Momma, is Master going to sell you from us tomorrow?… I shall not be moved. (stanza 3 and 5).
Im correlation with what was stated previously, Angelou distinctively voiced the struggle black women face on a daily basis. Moreso, black women are judged by the way they present themselves, from their community, and for having an opinion. As a whole, black women are unfairly judged for just being black. Despite, black women must forcefully smile and keep moving, just like the woman in the poem, where she repeatedly stated “I shall not, I shall not be moved” (stanza 2, 5, 7). Also, in this poem, Maya Angelou used the uncomfortable side of her seeming angry and pissed off of the condition of the black woman.
She stated, “she stands before the abortion clinic, confounded by the lack of choices. In the Welfare line, reduced to the pity of handouts. Ordained in the pulpit, shielded by the mysteries. In the operating room, husbanding life. In the choir loft, holding God in her throat. On lonely street corners, hawking her body. In the classroom, loving the children to understanding. ” Just like her childhood as stated before – she faced trauma in her life making her seem like she’s more of an nurture who loves her black babies and calls out the blatant disrespect of the black women and the black experience.
To reiterate, in Angelou’s life she experience one of the most horrifying experience anyone could face. To include, Angelou was only seven years old. In 1969, Angelou wrote an autobiography about her life called “Why the Caged Bird Sings”“. In chapter 13, Angelou unpeeled the bandage that changed her life forever. In chapter 13, Maya opened her story with her brother asking her” Maya who hurt you? ” Undoubtedly, Angelou told her brother who hurt her. After Angelou’s grandmother learned about what she experienced, Angelou’s perpetrator was sent to jail.
In result, Angelou was questioned from her perpetrator’s lawyer. She lied and said no because she felt that she had to. She thought that letting her perpetrator touch her before the rape made her a bad girl, and that if she told anyone they would be very angry at her. She felt worse about this lie than anything else; and, when she heard that her perpetrator was beaten to death, she thought it ws her fault because she told a lie. Angelou felt so badly about this lie that she thought that she would alienate people and drive them away if she talked, and they sensed the bad things she thought that she had done.
She decided to stop talking to everyone except her brother. To summarize, Angelou had to struggle with her physical, emotional, and mental state. In Phenomenal woman, Angelou overcame her inner demons. In the poem, Angelou described herself as a queen to her audience. In correlation with black women being judged Angelou stepped into that average marginalized girl shoes, becoming her spiritual mother. Moreso, with Angelou dealing with her struggles she uniquely embraced the black girls struggles. One would say, Angelou helped defeat her demons while also helping others overcome their demons, too.
To reiterate, Angelou was that outgoing mother vocalizing to her children that “ I’m not built to suit a fashion model size. I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. “(stanza 1). Purposely yet cleverly, Angelou included to her audience that she didn’t fit into society’s beauty standards. In fact, Angelou tells her daughters that it’s okay to be modest. “Men themselves have wondered what they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style.
I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. “(stanza 4). In conclusion, Maya Angelou has used her unique style in poetry to correlate her struggles with the marginalized community. Moreso, Angelou faced one of the most traumatic events in her life, which aided into her queendom. In result, Angelou’s theme resonates in every poem she has written. Angelou’s core themes deal with her being a spiritual mother, while welcoming in her southern roots to the world, and walking into being an African-American queen. Because of these themes, Angelou has helped marginalized people identify and love their inner selves.