Rhetorical Analysis: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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Thomas Carlyle expresses culture as: “the process by which a person becomes all that they were capable of being.” By unifying people, culture empowers us to be everything we can be. World-renowned author and activist, and possibly the most inspirational woman of all time, Maya Angelou, both explains and proves this idea in “Champion of the World,” an excerpt from her collection of memoirs: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Through the use of many types of rhetoric, she illustrates how cultural identities can unite us and bring out many emotions in us, bad and good. She demonstrates her purpose: how culture gives us an identity, and brings us together to grow in places we could not alone. She uses syntax, diction, tone, and other rhetorical…show more content…
Maya Angelou begins by giving background knowledge and describing the scene for the upcoming event. She describes the crowded room, tenseness in the air, and builds suspense for the fight between the “Brown Bomber and the white contender. The main technique used in the introduction to the story is diction. She uses strong verbs and adjectives to set the scene for the story, as well as short phrases and dialogue that help familiarize the reader with the room. For example, Angelou says: “The apprehensive mood was shot through with shafts of gaiety, as a black sky is streaked with lightning” (2). While many techniques are used in this sentence, one of the strongest is diction; she uses picturesque and vivid diction to describe the mood in the room with a metaphor comparing it with a “black sky streaked with lightning” (2). Words that stand out to help develop the suspenseful mood in the room include: “apprehensive”, “streaked”, and even “lightning” (Angelou 2). This particular use of diction helps to develop her purpose by strongly describing the emotions shared in the room, and how the culture in the room strengthens these emotions. Another way Angelou uses diction is to help the reader
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