The Struggles in Maya Angelou's Life

924 Words2 Pages
The early 1930’s a time where segregation was still an issue in the United States it was especially hard for a young African American girl who is trying to grow and become an independent woman. At this time, many young girls like Maya Angelou grew up wishing they were a white woman with blond hair and blue eyes. That was just the start of Angelou's problems though. In the autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou goes into great depth about her tragic childhood, from moving around to different houses, and running away and having a child at the age of 16. This shows how Maya overcame many struggles as a young girl. At a young age, Maya Angelou’s parents got divorced. After the divorce was final Maya and her older brother, Bailey, were sent away to live with their grandmother. Angelou’s not so perfect life started when she was a young girl. “When she was about three years old, their parents divorced and the children were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. Angelou claims that her grandmother, whom she called ‘momma, had a deep-brooding love that hung over everything she touched’” (Burt). In the first chapter of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the book starts with Angelou talking about her parent's divorce. “Our parents decided to put an end to their calamitous marriage, and father shipped us home to his mothers” (Angelou 5). After living with her grandmother, or as Maya begins to call her “momma”, for 4 years Maya Angelou and her brother Bailey are sent back to St. Louis Missouri. In St Louis they lived with her mother and her boyfriend Mr.Freeman. Mr.Freeman makes a huge impact on young Maya’s life. When she was only 8-years-old he rapes her, after being raped Angelou becomes mute and will ... ... middle of paper ...>. Hanford, Mary. Maya Angelou. New Jersey: Salem, 2006. Literary Reference Center. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. . I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Maya Angelou, 2009. Print. Walker, Pierre A. Racial protest, identity, words, and form in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Vol. 22. West Chester: Collage Literature, n.d. Literary Reference Center. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. .
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