Graduation

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Chengye Yin
Engl 115
In the story “Graduation”, a young black girl feels anticipated and honored with her graduation day. However, on her graduation day, she feels frustrated and shadowy because Mr. Donleavy, a white man, delivers a speech to the graduating class of 1940. At first, Angelou is quite excited because she is proud of her academic achievements; besides that, she is also about to make a speech in front of many students. In addition, her mother also gives her a fancy dress with an abundance of embroideries and frills. Furthermore, many people also praise her of her wisdom. When Mr. Donleavy makes his speech, Angelou feels disappointed and bitter because his speech includes too much racism. In the uninspired speech, he says a little improvement will be done in black school, while a lot advanced equipment is offered in Central School (a white school). He also mentioned that all the black should pursue is those jobs at the bottom of the society such as maids and farmers. “The ancient tragedy was being replayed” means that the black are usually discriminated for countless times. When Mr. Donleavy delivers his speech, Angelou feels quite angry and frustrated. When her class valedictorian, Henry Reed, reads his poem, she feels impressed. She feels like “stretching her self tall and trembling”. “I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death”, these sentences makes Angelou delighted to be the black and be a part of the graduating class. She then sets aside all her anger and bitter aroused by the awful speech and rejoices with the poem by Henry Reed. Angelou feels she is on top again, no longer disappointed by the fact that she is a black girl and her race is now being discriminated, because Henry Reed encourages her and she believes she will overcome all the difficulties.
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