Maya Angelou and Alice Walker - Free Essay

Published: 2023-08-27
Maya Angelou and Alice Walker - Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Women Violence Maya Angelou Alice Walker
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 688 words
6 min read

An essay published in the book In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens written by Alice Walker and an autobiography I Know Why the caged Bird Sings, written by Maya Angelou, are all literary works that share the tragic experiences of two women. They all lived in the rural part of the south. Ms. Angelou was sexually abused while Ms. Walker lost her eyesight in one eye when both women were eight years old. Thus, both books depict some social factors like gender that allow violence to occur within our societies and the impact on the victims and health workers.

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Gender is characteristics that make someone a male or a female. These two African-American writers were females who suffered because of their sex. Firstly, Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, because she was a vulnerable female who was defenseless. After the act, she was afraid and embarrassed to tell anyone about the ordeal. On the other hand, Ms. Walker was denied a gun by her parents because of her gender. Therefore, while playing with her brothers, she role-played as an Indian and used a bow and an arrow.

Additionally, Maya was insulted because she had kinky hair and dark skin. Even though Bailey stood up for her when insulted, she felt inferior. Therefore, when reciting a poem in church wearing a dress that her grandmother gave her, Maya imagines herself as a beautiful white child. However, all is lost when she imagines that the dress was a second hand given to her grandmother by a white lady, and this makes her forget the poem and wet her pants, thus fleeing the church in embarrassment. On the other hand, after the accident leaving Alice blind on her right eye, she felt ugly because of the disfiguration. Some of the school children made fun of her, making her lose her sense of worth. Therefore, both of these writers went through emotional abuse.

Secondly, both women were betrayed by those closest to them. Maya, who suffered from nightmares, would often share a bed with her mother and boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. It made her an easy target for sexual abuse because Vivian Maya’s mother had long shifts. Mr. Freeman, whom Maya trusted, took advantage of her, making her undergo excruciating pain and threatening to kill her brother if she told anybody what happened. Maya’s love for her brother made her keep the abuse as a secret until her mother and brother found out. While Ms. Walker hurt by her brothers, and instead of telling the truth, they ask her to lie for them. Additionally, her brothers were not extensively punished by their parents.

The two writers were affected in different ways because of the traumatic events. Maya became silent for almost five years. She only spoke to Bailey because she felt responsible for Mr. Freeman’s death since she lied in court. While Ms. Walker’s world turned upside down before the accident, Alice was a lively, outgoing, and felt beautiful. However, after being blinded on her right eye by her brother while playing cowboys and Indians, she lost her self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Some school children ridiculed her. It made her withdrawn, making her perform poorly in school.

The two literary works have used metaphors to demonstrate how social factors such as gender allow violence to occur within societies. In the book, I know why the Caged Bird Sings the caged Bird represents the cruelty and injustice faced by individuals. Maya can be depicted as a caged bird because she is sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend in her mother’s house, making her have nowhere to run. On their hand, in the essay, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, the word garden represents strength and courage. Her mother loved gardening; thus, she put her heart and soul into it when the blacks were slaves.

In summary, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker in these two types of work display a certain level of similarities, although they lived approximately a generation apart. In these books, each of the contemporary writers shared experiences, although tragic, they outgrew the pain and humiliation and thrived on being better women in society.

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