Power in the Voice
In the short exert from Maya Angelou, language is used to express feelings, instill emotions in others, and separate classes of people. Language is a key element in the expression of oneself. We will see how Marguerite sees Mrs. Flowers and how she changes her life forever with the understanding and importance of the spoken words and what it symbolizes. After being raped at the tender age of 8 years old, Marguerite Johnson entered into a cocoon. This was her haven against the world after she was raped. Marguerite explains, “I sopped around the house, the store, the school and the church, like an old biscuit, dirty and inedible”(Angelou, 1970 ,p.87). This shows her low self-esteem and unhappiness within herself. As with every cocoon, there is always a time when one must leave and bravely enter the unknown world behind the shell. Mrs. Flowers helps her emerge from this cocoon with using her love of literature to open this barrier. Her love for literature along with her admiration for Mrs. Flowers helps her to break the silence. Mrs. Flowers was put on a god like pedestal. Marguerite says, “Mrs. Bertha Flowers was the aristocrat of Black Stamp” (Angelou, 1970, p87). Using the word aristocrat defines the high level of status and importance of this beautiful black woman in her eyes. She was an educated woman who defied the role of what a black woman was suppose to be during the great depression. Her admiration for Mrs. Flowers is clearly displayed when she said, “when she chose to smile at me I always wanted to thank her. The action was so graceful and inclusively benign. She was one of the few gentlewomen I have ever known and has remained throughout my life the measure of what a human being can be ” (Angelou, 1970, p.88). The use of language and tones are the elements which express feelings and emotions from one individual. When Mrs. Flowers is having a conversation with Marguerite about words, she states, “ words mean more than what...
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