Maya Angelou Analysis

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Maya Angelou once stated, “We may encounter defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
In her autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Angelou encounters many struggles, whether it pertained to others or herself. Throughout her life, Angelou experiences conflicts relating to self love, her weaknesses, and gender roles. Despite these conflicts, numerous female characters influenced Angelou and shaped her into the woman she was. All of these tie in with the gender/feminist literary lense. A predominant struggle Angelou dealt with was her own insecurities. At a young age, she was conditioned to think that the color of her skin and how she looked were the most important attributes about her. In I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Angelou states, “Where I was big, elbowy and grating, he (Bailey) was small, graceful and smooth. When I was described by our playmates as being shit
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She states, “It was the same old quandary. I had always lived it. There was an army of adults, whose motives and movements I just couldn’t understand and who made no effort to understand mine,” (74). After Mr. Freeman assaults her the first time, he tells her he would kill Bailey if she ever told anyone about what he did. At this time, she wasn’t able to comprehend what had happened and why the consequences of informing someone about it were so harsh. Earlier she states, “He held me so softly that I wished he wouldn’t ever let me go. From the way he was holding me I knew he’d never let me go or let anything bad ever happen to me” (73). All her life, Angelou lacked affection and love, and this itself causes her to think that she had done something wrong and not Mr. Freeman. She empathizes with him and says that she doesn’t understand him, and he doesn’t understand her. Mr. Freeman later uses Maya’s empathy and naivety to manipulate and take advantage of her. He turned her nature into weaknesses and made her feel guilty about
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