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Sister Flowers

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“Sister Flowers” by Maya Angelou is a descriptive essay taken from her memoir “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The essay is from the viewpoint of a young lady named Marguerite and the influence her neighbor, Sister Flowers, has on her during that specific time in her childhood. Throughout the essay, it is evident that Sister Flowers has an impact on Marguerite by the intense details the author gives when referring to her. As a result of Sister Flowers’s influence, Marguerite expresses the positive effects of education on communication and respect.

Marguerite describes very directly how she viewed the people around her by the way they communicated. Those, whom were educated, like Sister Flowers and herself, spoke in a different manner. They spoke eloquently and with grace, and held a higher standard in her eyes. On the other hand, those who spoke like Momma were illiterate. She considered people like Momma ignorant and beneath Sister Flowers; she couldn’t imagine Momma or Sister Flowers having anything in common, none the less anything to talk about with each other. Marguerite recounts the interactions between her grandmother and Mrs. Flowers, and notices the minute mistakes Momma makes, “Most often when she passed on the road in front of the Store, she spoke to Momma in that soft yet carrying voice, “Good day, Mrs. Henderson.” Momma responded with “How you, Sister Flowers?”” (Angelou, 1970, p.100) In this quote Marguerite was embarrassed that Momma did not use a verb when she responded to Mrs. Flowers and proclaims how much she hates Momma for showing her ignorance. This quote gives the reader an insight on Marguerite’s perspective of education and communication. From Marguerite’s perspective, education has a positive effect on communication. People who are uneducated are ignorant, and it is obvious to others they are illiterate by the manner of how they speak.