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Maya Angelou

Author Study
by

Vanessa Barthova

on 31 March 2011

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Transcript of Maya Angelou

MAYA ANGELOU I Know Why the Caged
Bird Sings Alone Still I Rise Touched by an
Angel This testimony from a black sister marks the beginning of a new error in the minds and hearts of all black men and women...I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity. I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood when the poeple in books were more real than the people one saw everyday, had I found myself so moved...Her portrait is a biblical study of life in the midst of death.

-Fellow Author REVIEWS The wisdom, rue and humor of her storytelling are borne on a lilting rhythm completely her own, the product of a born writer's senses nourished on black church singing and preaching, soft mother talk and salty street talks...

-NY Times Book Review I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings casts a keen eye inward and bares her soul in a slim volume of personal essays. This collection is narrower in scope than Angelou's earlier book and the sense of racial pride is stronger, more compelling. But all of her opinions are deeply rooted and most are conveyed with a combination of humility, personable intelligence and wit.

-Publisher Weekly Half on Half Agree Agree 1928 April 4, 1928- Born as Marguerite Ann Johnson in Saint Louis, Missouri.
1931 Parents got divorced, and Maya and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas
1935/37 The children returned to live with their mother St. Louis & Maya was sexually abused and raped by her mother's paramour.
1941 Maya attended George Washington High School and studied dance and drama on a scholarship at the California Labor School.
1942 She dropped out of school in her teens to become San Francisco's first African American female cable car conductor
1943 Maya returned to high school, but became pregnant and graduated a few weeks before giving birth to her son, Guy.
1952 She married a Greek sailor named Tosh Angelos but the marriage quickly failed
1952 She began her career as a nightclub singer and during this time took the name Maya Angelou
1958 Developed her skills in writing poetry and moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild
1959 Became involved with Civil Rights Activists
1959 At the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou became the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
1960 She met the South African civil rights activist Vusumzi Make and in 1960, the couple and Guy moved, to Cairo, Egypt.
1964 Returned to America hoping to helher mother's paramour Malcolm X build his new Organization of African American Unity
1968 Malcolm X is assassinated and Maya began working on her Autobiographical book 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings'
1973 Maya Angelou married Paul du Feu and moved with him and her son to Sonoma, California.
1984 Met Oprah Winfrey and became her friend and mentor
1993 Maya Angelou reads her poem On the Pulse of Morning at inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
1970 Receives the Chubb Fellowship Award, Yale University
1972 Receives the Pulitzer Prize Nomination for Just Give Me A Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die
1976 Receives the Ladies' Home Journal Award ("Woman of the Year in Communication")
1977 Receives the Golden Eagle Award, Afro-American in the Arts
1986 Receives Fulbright Program 40th Anniversary Distinguished Lecturer award
1991 Receives Langston Hughes Medal
1993 Grammy for "Best Spoken Word Album," "On The Pulse of Morning,"
1996 Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Association National Award
2006 Receives Mother Teresa Award
2008 Becomes the first recipient of Hope for Peace and Justice Voice of Peace award TIMELINE Maya Angelou was inspired by Marting Luther King. She was inspired by Andrew Young, by his political insight and courage. She was also influenced by Operah Winfrey, whom she inspired as well. She shared the same idea, hopes and dreams as most honored African-Americans of her era. Maya Angelou was also influenced by the history in making of that time. She was effected by the social struggles, and the Civil Rights movement. INFLUENCES She influenced the american society through her involvement in the American Civil Right Movement, and through her poetry. Maya influenced and touched many people's lives through her work, and thanks to her, black women gained respect and rights. She also influenced literature today, and her books still prevail in the "must read" section. Bibliographical Connections Angelou was inspired by Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, Dunbar, Kipling, and the Bronte sisters. While Maya was still young, she fell in love with William Shakespeare. She connected to them with her senced of isolation. Different authors that she read and enjoyed, indirectly, taught her a new way of expression in writing. STYLE Maya Angelou's style
is filled with humour, metaphors, rythms and symbolism. Angelou’s style is entertaining.
It is very reflective of her life.
Her stories and poems contain many
fascinating themes and ideas. ------------------------------------------ ---------------- ------------------------------------------ ---------------- Her poetry, her wrtiting, it has a rythm.
When you read it, you feel drawn and moved.
She uses rhymes, and repetition often,
which creates an attention catching style. ..."How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf not a stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone.
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. Angelou's writing and style often displays and uses
symbolism and metaphors.
It gives her work a deeper meaning, and allows
her to talk to the hearts of the readers. ..."But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing." She also uses a lot of historical
and biblical references. "Charity dont say, 'Because I give you a job,
you got to bend your knee to me.' The church
was rocking with each phrase. 'I don't say,'Because
I pays you what you due, you got to call me master." Maya Angelou was born in an era filled with uncertanty, and opression directed towards the African-Americans. A common theme in her wrting plays identity.
COMMON THEMES ====================================================== ======================= ====================================================== ======================= Maya Angelou learned to be independent at a young age, her family life was
unstable, and she kept on switching between the countryside and the city.
She grew up with the belief that if you work hard, all that you are due, you will recieve.
During the 1950´s and 1960´s the Civil Rights movement expanded. This had a huge effect on Maya, for she joined in the fight. She became famous as a leading individual in her fight for rights. A huge theme in most of her writing is racism. She grew up in the times when your skin color could make you, or break you. She encountered racism, discrimination, hatred, and humiliation. From all of this mistreatment she wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” and other powerful works. the end
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