RACISM AND CASTEISM WITH THE SPECIAL REFENCE TO I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS AND KARUKKU
Maya Angelou’s turbulent experiences through late childhood and adolescence transformed into an almost positive force in her adult life as they helped enlighten, inspire, motivate and shape and very being .They provided her with the vehement fuel that drives her achingly powerful words and allowed her the knowledge and wisdom that led to self –discovery (finding one’s inner self), two endeavors that most of humanity is never able or perhaps willing to acquire. From an apprehensive child growing up in a small town in Arkansas, Maya Angelou has evolved into an influential, wish, and respected women. She has overcome obstacles and has grown into one of the elite intellectual people of this country, and perhaps the world. Along her numerous struggles, various people have given her positive guidance and passed down their knowledge to her. Among these people was Mrs. Bertha Flowers, a person in which Maya respected greatly. She was a dignified person that Maya could strive to achieve the gratitude that Mrs. Flowers gave to the people around her, a sense of appreciation. In her life story, Maya Angelou attributes her characterists she has acquired today, being influential wise and respected, to Mrs. Flower, who shows her the power of a voice, the knowledge of literature and pride in her race, and turns a self-conscious girl, into one of the profound writers of our time. Mrs. Flowers enlightened Maya on the importance, and dominant effect, of expression through an individual voice. Earlier in her life, Maya was sexually molested and raped, and as a result, became dormant towards society. This was such a traumatizing event in her life that struck her obviously, in a physical sense, but moreover, mentally. Where she was once a brilliant outgoing child, she became a quite, somber adult. As a result of this ,Mrs. Flowers stepped in and told Maya to, ”bear in mind ,language is man’s way of communicating with his fellow man and it is language alone which separates him from the lower animals”. The intellect and beauty of Mrs. Flowers was shown through this quote which she educated Maya. Throughout I Know Why the Caged Birds sings there were many themes such as racism and segregation, strong black women and literature. The strongest theme addressed in the book was racism and segregation. Racism and segregation was shown in just about every aspect of the book. A major example of to this theme is presented by how Maya and her family lived in the black side of stamps. Stamps, Arkansas, as depicted in Caged Bird, has very little “social ambiguity”. It is a racist world divided between. Black and white, male and female. Als characterizes the division as “good and evil”, and notes how Angelou’s witness of the evil in her society, “generally directed at black women”, shaped Angelou’s young life and informed her views into adulthood. Angelou uses the metaphor of a bird struggling to escape its cage, as a central image throughout her series of autobiography. Like elements within a prison narrative, the caged bird represents Angelou’s confinement resulting from racism and oppression. The caged bird metaphor also invokes “the supposed contradiction” of the bird singing in the midst of its struggle. Scholar Ernece B.Kelley calls caged bird a “gentle indictment of white American womanhood but Hagen disagrees, stating that the book is” a dismaying story of white dominance. Critic Pierre A. Walker places Angelo’s autobiography in the African American literature tradition of political protest. Caged Bird has been called “perhaps the most aesthetically satisfying auto biography written in the years immediately following the Civil Rights era. Angelou demonstrates, through her involvement with black community of Stamps, as well as her presentation of vivid and realistic racist characters and the “vulgarity of white southern attitude...
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