"I am human," Angelou said, "and nothing human can be alien to me" (Shafer).
Maya Angelou just may be the most "human" person in the world. Indeed, with all of the struggles she went through in her early life, her humanness increasingly deepened. Her life was characterized by the instability of her childhood and her family, along with the challenge of being a black woman growing up in 19th century America. The deepness of her humanness is evident in all of her writings, from her autobiographies to her poetry. Now a success today, Angelou's major themes are inspired by the dream of overcoming the struggles that were ever-present in her life.
Born April 4, 1928 in Saint Louis, Missouri, Maya Angelou's given name was Marguerite Johnson. In her early twenties she was given the name Maya Angelou after her debut performance as a dancer at the Purple Onion cabaret. She has been labeled as a poet, historian, author, actress, dancer, singer, playwright, civil-rights activist, teacher, producer and director (Shafer). Today, she lectures throughout the US and abroad and has been Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina since 1981. She has published ten best selling books and numerous magazine articles earning her Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominations. At the request of President Clinton, she wrote and delivered a poem at his 1993 presidential inauguration. Maya Angelou, poet, was among the first African-American women to hit the bestsellers lists with her "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." She has ranged from story to poem to song and back again, and her theme has always been one of love and the universality of all lives. "The honorary duty o...
... middle of paper ...
..."...You pick yourself, dust yourself off, and prepare to love somebody. I don't mean sentimentality. I mean the condition of the human spirit so profound that it encourages us to build bridges" (Hall)
Burt, Sharon. Voices from the Gaps. "Maya Angelou." 31 Oct. 2001 <http://voices.cla.
Hall, Joseph, copyright. "A Spotlight on Maya Angelou." 20 April 2000. 31 Oct. 2001. <http://www.geocities.com/jdhosu/maya/maya_b.html>
Lupton, Mary Jane. Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Maya Angelou: Poems. New York: Bantam Books, 1986.
Neubauer, Carol E. Southern Women Writers. Ed. Inge, Tonette Bond. Tuscaloosa:
Univ. of Alabama Press, 1990. 114-142.
Shafer, Nancy Imelda. "Maya Angelou." 31 Oct. 2001 <http://www.empirezine.com/spotlight/maya/maya1.htm>.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Maya Angelou was born April 4, 1928. Her real name is Marguerite Johnson, but she later changed it to Maya. She was born in St. Louis, shortly after her birth her family up and move to Arkansaw. Maya grew up there in the rural parts of Arkansaw, and later married to a South African Freedom Fighter. She lived in Cairo with him, there she began her career as editor of the Arab Observer. At the request of Dr. Martin Lutheran King Jr., she became the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1975.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
614 words (1.8 pages)
- In Maya Angelou’s third book of poetry And Still I Rise, the personal struggles of the African American Woman are brought to life through poetic works. With inspirations drawn from personal journeys of Maya Angelou herself, powerful poems praise, celebrate, and empathize with the feminine colored experience. Angelou’s writing sheds glaring light on themes of feminine power, beauty, and perseverance, raising the African American Woman to a pedestal that demands respect and adoration. For Angelou’s audience, the everyday woman is presented equipped with all the necessities to thrive and shine in the face of adversity.... [tags: Maya Angelou]
1752 words (5 pages)
- “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope” (Brainyquote.com). That uncomplicated line was poet Maya Angelou’s enduring adage throughout the whole of her adult life. Angelou felt that love was among the many skills she possessed, believing to have a predisposition to love all people, and to inspire them to love as well. Maya Angelou’s love for mankind truly shows through her work of poetry as she jumps hurdles, leaps fences, and penetrates walls to reach the ultimate destination of becoming an awe-inspiring human being.... [tags: maya angelou, love, female director]
701 words (2 pages)
- Maya Angelou is not just known for being a poet, novelist, educator, producer, actor, musician, and civil right activist, but also as one of the most renowned and influential voices. Maya Angelou was born as Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Stamps, Arkansas. As a child, she had a passion for art. She attended public school in Arkansas and California, and won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor school. At the age of fourteen, Dr.... [tags: Maya Angelou, poetry, women, feminism, ]
538 words (1.5 pages)
- Poetry Analysis of Maya Angelou's Caged Bird ‘Caged Bird’ is a poem written by Maya Angelou which considers the conditions of the ‘free bird’ and the ‘caged bird’. Actually this contrast between the birds enables her to express her own emotions about freedom and isolation. The poem is quite symbolic so there are various hidden messages she tries to convey about her feelings mostly indirectly. In the first stanza Maya Angelou breathes life into her description of the ‘free bird’ by using verbs like ‘leaps’, ‘floats’, ‘dips’.... [tags: Poetry Analysis, Maya Angelou]
479 words (1.4 pages)
- The inquiry of identity is both a philosophical and a psychological question. Identity is not only comprised of the characteristics that make individuals unique, but also includes external perceptions that classify groups of people together. It gives individuals a unique sense of self, and also lends itself to the application of labels and stereotypes. I believe identity is an integral part of human existence. It creates societies and distinguishes culture. It gives individuals a sense of community and self-worth.... [tags: Maya Angelou The Graduation]
1173 words (3.4 pages)
- This piece of autobiographical works is one of the greatest pieces of literature and will continue to inspire young and old black Americans to this day be cause of her hard and racially tense background is what produced an eloquent piece of work that feels at times more fiction than non fiction In 1970, a child with skinny legs and muddy skin was introduced into African American literature. Born marguerite Johnson she became known as Maya Angelou (Lupton 51). Her critically acclaimed works have changed the way of the African American autobiography is written.... [tags: Biography Maya Angelou]
955 words (2.7 pages)
- Symbolism and Allusion in Maya Angelou's "My Arkansas" "There is a deep brooding/ in Arkansas." Arkansas is stuck in the past, its memories of hatred and crime from ante-bellum days hindering the progression towards Civil Rights. Maya Angelou's poem of the struggle to a new wave of equality uses both general symbolism and historical allusion to make its theme clear to the reader. The poem uses general symbolism in nature, in time, and historical allusion to make the theme clear in a concise but vibrant poem.... [tags: Maya Angelou My Arkansas]
808 words (2.3 pages)
- Distress in Maya Angelou's Life Marguerite Ann Johnson, commonly known as Maya Angelou, was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a famous African-American poet, novelist, and playwright and also worked during the civil rights: "Angelou is a very remarkable Renaissance woman who hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature" (www.mayaangelou.com). She is also an activist in civil-rights. Angelou went through many controversies during her childhood and adulthood; her romantic life was never joyful and there are questions that come consecutively in my mind: how does Angelou's "Artful Pose" demonstrates the attitude toward writing of her poetry.... [tags: Maya Angelou Biography Poet African American]
1173 words (3.4 pages)
- Maya Angelou A poet, an author, a play-write, an actress, a mother, a civil-rights activists, historian and most important a survivor. Perhaps Maya Angelou, award winning author of many books, is one of the most influential African Americans in American history. I believe that she rates at the top of the list of American authors, with Hemingway, Hawthorne, and Voight. I believe through my research and reading of Maya Angelou that she should be among the members of The American Authors Hall of Fame.... [tags: Poet biography bios Maya Angelou Essays]
1359 words (3.9 pages)