Analysis of "Graduation"
During the mid nineteen hundreds, racial segregation was prevalent in the United States, especially in the South. In the essay, "Graduation" Maya Angelou tells about her experience of graduating from the eighth grade in Stamps, Arkansas. In today's society, a graduating ceremony is exciting for all, however, it is not uncommon. Often, people take these type of experiences for granted. This was not the case for Angelou. To her, having a graduating ceremony in her hometown was considered a privilege. The writer structures the essay to evoke feelings from her readers and to get her point across.
Angelou uses literary elements to convey the overall point of the essay, starting with the title. "Graduation" references the commencement ceremony that takes place during the essay. It implies a pronouncement of the writer moving on and growing up. Structure helps convey the main reason the writer wrote this essay. The essay is structured in a way that the reader can feel empathy for the writer and understand what she and her community were dealing with during the nineteen forties. Also, Angelou structures her essay to show how the experience, both the good and the bad, helped her to understand herself.
Tone plays an important role in conveying the overall point of Angelou's essay. There are two major shifts that occur throughout the essay. The essay started off with an excited and happy tone about it. When Angelou writes, “The children in Stamps trembled visibly with anticipation. Some adults were excited too, but to be certain the whole young population had come down with graduation epidemic” (15) it exemplifies the happy tone of the essay. Angelou was thrilled to finally be graduating and moving on to all the possibilities life would bring her. However, in the middle of the essay the tone completely shifts in the opposite direction. Once the two white politicians walk on stage, the entire atmosphere of...
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