Maya Angelou went from living in a place where the religious and pious were the ones who garnered respect, to an environment in which gamblers, hustlers, prostitutes, and gangsters were the ones who held the power. I too had a similar experience when I moved from my quiet hometown to the big city when I was eight years old. I learned quickly, as Maya did, that the more diverse aspects of life I was able to experience, the more well rounded a person I could become. I could also relate, in many aspects, to the part of the story in which Maya and her brother attend a non-segregated high school in California, until at 16 years old Bailey, gets his own apartment. Subsequently, Maya is forced to spend the summer with her father and his malicious girlfriend, Dolores, in a trailer park. After an argument with Delores comes to blows, Maya runs away from home and vows to make it on her own. I too had a brother that moved away from home at an early age, and I have experienced problems with stepfamilies for most of my life. Though my experiences have never reached the tragic depths that Maya’s did, I can unremittingly sympathize with her plight and empathize with her pain.
After years of reading Anne Bradstreet’s marvelous poetic verse, I have learned that time is no barrier to parallel lifestyles. Anne's inner struggles between religious piety and the acceptance of natural human failings mirrors the crevice in my own soul. Her moralistic desire to banish her "unfit" child surely caused a torrent of inner-conflict between her maternal instincts and her virtuous character. Ironically, however, by expressing these emotional thoughts in her poetry, she is actually portraying herself as an unfit Puritan, in that Puritans are instructed to honor the traditional family and embrace all traditional family roles and responsibilities. My religious upbringing inspires the same types of conflicts and contradictions from which the emotional distress can only be justly expressed on...
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