Maya Angelou Essay

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Characteristics of a “Phenomenal Woman” Everyone knows the saying “behind every good man there is a good woman”. Women come in all shapes, colors and nationalities. Women have always been looked upon as being inferior to men. However, in today’s society women have come into their own, causing men young and old, to take notice. Some would even argue that our place is no longer behind the man, but right beside the man. This paper will discuss the life and influences of author Maya Angelou. It will also discuss her use of imagery, voice and sound in the poem “Phenomenal Woman”. Marguerite Annie Johnson also known as, “Maya Angelou” was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the daughter of Bailey Johnson and Vivian Baxter. Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas by her paternal grandmother Annie Henderson, along with her brother Bailey. Annie Henderson, whom Angelou called “Momma”, was her only stability after her parents divorced. Her brother Bailey would later give her the name Maya. At an early age Angelou was raped by a friend of her mother’s while visiting her mother in St. Louis. This violent act left the young girl traumatized. When her uncle’s heard about what happen they killed the man who raped her. She felt as though his death was her fault and she did not speak for five years. When Angelou was 12 years old an educated black woman from Stamps by the name of Bertha Flowers helped her to break this silence. Angelou graduated at the top of her Morrison 2 eighth grade class in Stamps, Arkansas. Because of the racial issues in Stamps, their grandmother thought it was in the best interest of the children to move them to California. Angelou attended George Washington High School where she studied dance, music and drama. At the age of seventeen Angelou graduated from high school and gave birth to a son Guy Bailey Johnson. In

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