She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences.
Share via Email Maya Angelou in Graeme Robertson The writer Maya Angelouwho has died aged 86, won acclaim for her first autobiographical memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsa scathing and sardonic indictment of the racial discrimination she experienced as a child in Arkansas and California.
It is an unnecessary insult. Unlike Richard Wright's autobiographical Black Boywhich has a similar setting and theme, it gives a sympathetic and compassionate account of a beleaguered black community while also humorously dramatising Angelou's need to find self-fulfilment outside it.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has had a wide appeal, particularly to younger female readers and continues to appear on school and university reading lists in the US and the UK. The critic Harold Bloom noted that Angelou achieved with the book "an almost unique tone that blends intimacy and detachment, a tone indeed of assured serenity that transcends the fearful humiliations and outrages that she suffered as a girl".
She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Bailey Johnson, a doorman and naval dietician, and Vivian nee Baxtera nurse, professional gambler, bar owner and entertainer. Maya was the name given to her by her brother, also Bailey.
When her parents separated, her father sent three-year-old Maya and her brother alone by train to live with his strong-willed and deeply religious mother, Annie Henderson, in the small, segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas.
When she was seven, Maya was raped by her mother's boyfriend. This traumatic incident, recorded in her autobiography, and the man's subsequent murder, for which she felt responsible, led her to stop speaking for five years.
She was encouraged to read works by black authors such as Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and was later persuaded by Bertha Flowers, an educated black citizen of Stamps, to read aloud from the works of Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare and various poets.
She acquired a love and appreciation of the spoken word which informed her writing and her performances of her own and other people's works. As a teenager, her brother became increasingly restless under the restrictions, discriminations and dangers experienced by black men in the south, and so their grandmother took the children to stay with their mother in San Francisco, where Maya attended Mission high school.
At the age of 14 she ran away in search of her father, and lived rough in Los Angeles and Mexico for a time. She then returned to San Francisco, completed her high school education, took lessons in dance and drama and, at the age of 17, gave birth to a son.
She had no desire to marry the father, who is not named in her autobiography. She also became possibly the first African-American female streetcar conductor in San Francisco. As she recounts in Gather Together in My Namethe second volume in her autobiographical sequence, she found work as "a shake dancer in night clubs, fry cook in hamburger joints, dinner cook in a Creole restaurant".
In her early 20s, she was married briefly to an aspiring musician, Anastasios Tosh Angelopulos, a former sailor, of Greek descent. She trained as a dancer with Martha Graham and worked as a nightclub singer, taking at that time the professional name Maya Angelou, borrowing a form of her husband's surname.
In the mids she toured Europe with a production of Porgy and Bess. She recorded a calypso album and appeared in the off-Broadway show Calypso Heat Wave, also taking a part in the film version. In New York, she was encouraged by John Oliver Killens and James Baldwin to join the Harlem Writers Guild and to take her creative work seriously, and she also became involved in the civil rights movement.
She moved with him and her son, Guy, to Cairo, where she worked as an editor for the Arab Observer, an English-language weekly.
Later she moved with Guy to Ghana, taught at the University of Ghana and worked as a features editor for the African Review. While in Ghana, she met Malcolm X. That organisation collapsed with the assassination of Malcolm X that year, and Angelou then began to work more closely with Martin Luther King.
When King was assassinated on 4 April her 40th birthday she was devastated. Narrating her changing awareness and struggle for self-fulfilment between the ages of three and 17, it portrayed vividly the characters of her glamorous mother, her proud and dignified grandmother, her beloved brother and her disabled Uncle Willie, as well as the troubled relationships between the races in the south during the depression.
Collectively, they portray Angelou's experience as a young single mother; her travels in Europe and Africa with the cast of Porgy and Bess; her involvement with the civil rights movement and meetings with iconic figures such as King, Malcolm X and Billie Holiday; her life in Ghana, her son's car accident and her decision to leave him in Ghana to recover; and finally the years after her return to the US in and her decision to begin writing her first book.
She once described her writing regime thus: I keep a dictionary, a bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room.—Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” —Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Caged Bird by Maya leslutinsduphoenix.com free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim. Page/5(). In "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Marguerite is like the caged bird in the poem "The Caged Bird" because she feels.
Racism in Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou, the current poet laureate of the United States, has become for many people an exemplary role model. The writer Maya Angelou, who has died aged 86, won acclaim for her first autobiographical memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (), a scathing and sardonic indictment of the racial.
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Carey, Patrick. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Chapter " LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 5 Dec Web. 21 Nov Carey, Patrick. "I Know Why the Caged.