The author, Maya or Marguerite, is a growing young black woman in a racist society together with her brother Bailey in the town of Stamps, Arkansas. As a young girl, she fails to understand the reasons behind the prejudices harbored by the white people against the black people. She is later molested by her father’s boyfriend resulting in the eventual return to the old town of stamps together with her brother. In the town, Maya meets Mrs. Flowers who indicates to her that speech and writing are equally beautiful and valuable. Maya has both positive and negative experiences during her period of growing up in the various cities around the country. Her experiences are vital towards the development of a strong character and her love for literature (Magill, 31).
Maya is raised by her grandmother in Arkansas, in a humble town called Stamps. Momma, her grandmother later decides to send her and her brother Bailey to their parents for fear that her grandson would be exposed to prejudices and possible death given that he is becoming a man. This is an express indication of the prejudices, which were in existent between white and black people. In addition, the male blacks were considered as ideal for labor given that the black community was considered as the cheapest form of executing hard labor. The movement form the Stamps to live with her parents is a result of Bailey’s witnessing of a dead black man killed while the onlooker who was a white man was filled with immense joy at the death of the black man (Magill, 39).
In the state of California, they live with their mother and eventually develop a strong bond given that they both love her deeply. On the other hand, she moves to San Francisco where she witnesses disheartening racism and other forms of prejudices instigated against the black people all because of the color of their skin. She witnesses that racism is not limited to black people but to other communities such as the Japanese who are also discriminated against, given the hostilities between the United States and Japan. She is able to take risks such as gaining employment that is designated for white people, and driving which she has never done before. This is an indication that her willingness to gain from new experiences enables her to succeed in such activities (Magill, 42).
The literature is unique in that it provides readers with diversity in terms of views experienced by the main character as she moves from one part country to another in her efforts to find inner peace. This leads her to new experiences from which she learns essential life skills such as communication with others and the essence of co-existence with others. Her sexual experience results in a pregnancy from which she makes the largest decision of taking care of her baby. This is an indication that she possesses good traits and is subsequently able to care for the child as she harbors good intentions for the baby.
Her parents are angered, but they accept that she is pregnant and that she can take care of the child. She uses vivid accounts, and eloquent words to highlight her views and captivate the reader to read on and make individual or independent judgments as to the trials of the African American community. This is in spite of the presence of prejudices instigated against the African American community and people of color. Mrs. Flowers is another significant figure in her life that provides her with motivation to speak and write after a traumatizing experience of rape by her mother’s boyfriend.
In retrospect, this literature has numerous ideas, which enable the writer to understand the challenges of existing in highly prejudicial world while bringing up a child. She is tasked with providing care and knowledge to her new child to enable the child make independent and sound decisions, which would enable the child, move forward in life. Maya Angelou is one of the most revered writers in the African American community, given her use of personal accounts to indicate the tribulations of the African American community regarding racism.
Magill, Frank N. Masterpieces of African-American Literature. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1992. Print.