Essay Analysis Paper

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Short story, Maya Angelou Pages: 3 (907 words) Published: August 10, 2010
Essay Analysis Paper
“Each year I watched the field across from the Store turn caterpillar green, then gradually frosty white. I knew exactly how long it would be before the big wagons would pull into the front yard and load on the cotton pickers at daybreak to carry them to the remains of slavery’s plantations” (Angelou, p. 115). Maya Angelou describes the life of cotton-pickers in the nonfiction story, “Cotton-Picking Time.” This paper will give an analysis of “Cotton-Picking Time” and discuss the author’s intent along with the rhythm, choice of words, tone, and satire. Also this paper will discuss the purpose of the essay, techniques used by the author, theme, and the tension between facts and events of the short story.

Maya grew up mainly at her grandmother’s house and store in a small town in Arkansas. She grew up in a small community, which consisted of slaves who worked in the cotton fields. Her grandmother’s store was a meeting place in the mornings and evenings for the cotton pickers. Many of the cotton pickers walked miles to reach the pick-up place to start their day. Many of the cotton pickers would purchase their lunches at the store for the day. Angelou describes the cotton harvest in much detail on the slave’s plantations. The work is hard work and backbreaking with little wages, which keep the cotton pickers in debt. They are not any better off than when they started. “In cotton-picking time the late afternoons revealed the harshness of Black Southern life, which in the early morning had been softened by nature’s blessing of grogginess, forgetfulness and the soft lamplight” (Angelou, p. 117). In this sentence, Angelou compares the mornings with the afternoons giving two different aspects of the day. The mornings were better than the evenings for the cotton pickers.

Angelou describes her younger life by working in the store seemed to be an adventure for her. Every day she recalls the smell of the store as odors of onions, oranges, and...

References: Angelou, M., (n.d.). Cotton-Picking Time. LaRocco, C. & Coughlin, J. (1996). The art of work. An anthology of workplace literature. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western Educational.
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