Critique of “Momma’s Encounter”
Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri (1928) as Marguerite Johnson; however she grew up in Stamps, Arkansas where her grandmother ran a general store. Angelou has acted and written several plays, poems, and a six-part autobiography “I Know Why the caged Bird Sings” making her one of this country’s foremost black writers. In this story Angelou tells about how her grandmother (momma) triumphs over a pack of taunting neighborhood children. I feel very strongly about this particular piece given the time set and the way black people were treated by the whites, and how without harsh words or threats some black people overcame the taunting and cruelties of the whites.
Cleanliness is next to godliness her grandmother would always say “and wash as far as possible then wash possible”. My own grandmother to this day tells me the same thing and reminds me to wash behind my ears. You would think after twenty-eight years I would have it down. It was also drilled in me that being dirty was the root of all evil. Maya was taught to respect others and when speaking to someone you would always address them by their appellation. It only happened a couple times with me but my own mother give me “the look” if I were to not address people by their correct appellation.
At the store, one afternoon, momma was humming a hymn from church as Maya had raked the store and yard and cleaned up, it was late in the afternoon after school had let out when some dirty little white girls came walking up. Maya was thinking that she didn’t want her grandmother to wait on these girls, that she would do it this afternoon, but without argument or hesitation when her grandmother asked her to go inside she obeyed. The girls reached the front porch in front of momma and began to mock her acting like an ape, pooching out there bottom lips, crooking their arms, and hunching their backs. Maya was thinking the whole time where the guns were located in the store...
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