Comparing In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Comparing In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Length: 1139 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 
    Alice Walker and Maya Angelou are two contemporary African-American writers.  Although almost a generation apart in age, both women display a remarkable similarity in their lives.  Each has written about her experiences growing up in the rural South, Ms. Walker through her essays and Ms. Angelou in her autobiographies.  Though they share similar backgrounds, each has a unique style which gives to us, the readers, the gift of their exquisite humanity, with all of its frailties and strengths, joys and sorrows.

 

Tragedy struck both of these women at the age of eight.  Ms. Walker lost her sight in one eye.  Ms. Angelou was raped.  Each described the incident as part of a larger work.  Ms. Walker related her experience in the body of an essay published in her book, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens.  Ms. Angelou told her story as a chapter in her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  Although both wrote about their traumatic experience, the way each depicted the incident was distinct and seemed to be told for very different purposes.

 

Alice Walker reports the facts to the reader with short sentences written in the present tense.  She chooses words which elicit a forceful emotional response from her audience.  For example, in telling how her brothers were given BB guns and she was not, Ms. Walker writes, "Because I am a girl, I do not get a gun.  Instantly, I am relegated to the position of Indian."  The word "relegated" causes the reader to be irate and indignant.  Most people do not like being "relegated" to anything.  Another illustration of Ms. Walker's use of dynamic words can be found in her descrip...


... middle of paper ...


...e with their help.

 

Alice Walker and Maya Angelou are both extremely courageous writers.  From each we receive a rare and poignant gift.  As her book suggests, Alice Walker challenges us to search for resolution in the face of loneliness and despair.  Maya Angelou, who "knows why the caged bird sings," reminds us that loneliness and despair never have the last word.  She gently points us to a window of hope.  Both women bless us with shades of being human.

Works Cited:

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. New York: Bantam, 1993.

Draper, James P., ed., et al. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 77. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993.

Walker, Alice.  "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens." Major Modern Essayists. Second Edition.  Ed. Gilbert H. Muller with Alan F. Crooks.  Englewood Cliffs:  Prentice Hall, 1994. 329-337.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: Cages

- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings:  Cages            Maya Angelou wrote an amazing and entertaining autobiography titled I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, about her hard life growing up as a black girl from the South.  Among the hardships are things known as "cages" as stated as a metaphor from Paul Dunbar's poem "Sympathy."  "Cages" are things that keep people from succeeding in life and being everything they want to be.  Some of Maya Angelou's cages include being black in the 1940's and her overbearing grandmother.  In my life, a "cage" is my young age, this causes problems with adults....   [tags: Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Essays]

Free Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

- In the autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the main character Marguerite Johnson, is influenced by a preponderance of characters including Bailey Jr. , Momma Henderson, and Mrs. Bertha Flowers. One of the primary influences is her older brother, Bailey Jr.. Momma, or Annie Henderson, the parental grandmother, also plays an important role for Maya. Additionally, Mrs. Flowers, the black aristocrat of Stamps, saves Maya during an especially difficult time. All in all, these three characters act as important role models in the development of Marguerite through her juvenile years....   [tags: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings]

Strong Essays
500 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Storm the Battlefronts

- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Storm the Battlefronts I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  Maya Angelou's novel is a classic tale of growing up black in the American South in the 1930s and 40s. Even though Marguerite's and her brother Bailey's childhood and early youth are probably far from typical for the average black family of that time, the book nonetheless can be read as a parable of what it meant and still means to be a black person in an overwhelmingly white society. The story is told from a "black" point of view and is thus a more "politically correct" representation of race relationship and prejudice than Harper Lee's equally famous To Kill a Mockingbird....   [tags: Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Essays]

Free Essays
523 words (1.5 pages)

Race Relations in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Essay

- Race Relations in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou The reasons listed by the censors for banning I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings do not explain the widespread controversy around the novel. There is reason to believe that the question of the novel is in its poignant portrayal of race relations. This explains why the novel has been most controversial in the South, where racial tension is historically worst, and where the novel is partially set. Therefore, understanding the blatant and subtle effects of racism on the young Marguerite help explain the censorship controversy, and the person she became....   [tags: Know Why Caged Bird Sings Essays Angelou]

Strong Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)

Oppression in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

- Oppression in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou In the process of compiling the literary works I intended to include in this project, I began to notice a common thread that connected the works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry that I generally choose to read. That common tie that binds these books together is that they all seem to center, in one form or another, around the theme of oppression. Perhaps this is because I have some deep psychological need to diffuse the power struggles I experience within myself by gleaning insight from the pages of someone else’s experience....   [tags: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings]

Free Essays
995 words (2.8 pages)

Quest for Self-Determination in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Lakota Woman

- Quest for Self-Determination in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Lakota Woman       During their growing up years, children struggle to find their personal place in society. It is difficult for children to find their place when they are given numerous advantages, but when a child is oppressed by their parents or grandparents, males in their life, and the dominant culture, the road to achieving self-identity is fraught with enormous obstacles to overcome. Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Mary Crow Dog's Lakota Woman depict the two women's "triumph over formidable social obstacles and [their] struggle to achieve a sense of identity and self-acceptance" (Draper 1)....   [tags: Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Essays]

Strong Essays
2718 words (7.8 pages)

Essay on Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

- Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya shields herself against the confusion of St. Louis by reading fairy-tales and telling herself that she does not intend on staying there anyway. Vivian works in a gambling parlor at night....   [tags: Angelou Caged Bird Book Summary Review Analysis]

Strong Essays
1676 words (4.8 pages)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings In the autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the main character Marguerite, also known as Maya is influenced a great deal by those around her. Throughout her young life, Maya watches and learns from her older brother Bailey, as well as her guardian and grandmother, Annie Henderson to whom Maya and Bailey refer as “Momma”. Though later in her preteen and adolescent years, Maya finds refuge in the strength and intelligence of Ms. Bertha Flowers and in high school Maya grows to respect and admire a teacher, Miss Kirwin, except for the sporadic presence of Maya’s Mother, Vivian Baxter, Maya most heavily depends on Bailey, Momma Henderson, and Ms....   [tags: Free Essays]

Free Essays
399 words (1.1 pages)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

- Three primary problems “cage” Maya Angelou in her autobiographical book I Know why the Caged Bird Sings. The most pressing of these issues was probably the fact that Maya lived in the highly segregated south. Another factor of her imprisonment was because Maya, also known as Marguerite, was a social outcast, with very few friends other then relatives. Finally, the main character was entrapped because of her unusual sexual exposure. Over all, the highly segregated life she led, her exclusion socially, and her sexual experience caught Ms....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
722 words (2.1 pages)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

- In the novel I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou goes from a little southern black girl who wishes to be a “a long and blonde haired, light-blue eyed, white girl”, to a very mature young adult that is proud of her race. Throughout ’s (Maya’s) life she goes through many difficulties and triumphs. Some of which a person could never imagine of going through. Maya goes from being a very shy and strange black girl, to a certain and self-confident young woman. In I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, has to deal with prejudice, rape, and also the issues of abandonment in her course of becoming a mature woman....   [tags: Maya Angelou]

Strong Essays
1667 words (4.8 pages)