Maya Angelou’s Champion of the World and Amy Tan’s Fish Cheeks

Topics: Maya Angelou, White American, White people Pages: 3 (1030 words) Published: October 3, 2010
Maya Angelou’s “Champion of the World” and Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” are both telling story about their younger days living as a minority in an Anglo community culture. Angelou uses narration from the commentator from the radio about the boxing match between Joe Louis and an unnamed white contender, and descriptive phrases and words to depict the high atmospheric tension in the store to elaborate the isolation she and her community felt towards the white Americans. On the other hand, Tan uses intense in-depth descriptions to portray the images of the food preparation and awkwardness she felt during the Christmas Eve dinner to illustrate her isolation towards being a Chinese living in an Anglo community and her rejection of being a Chinese. Even though the use of the radio broadcasting the ring announcer’s announcement and the tension felt in Angelou’s short story increased the pinnacle, she did not depict her sense of isolation as Tan’s crisp imagery description. Angelou uses descriptive narration and the ring announcer announcing the match to express her isolation she felt as a minority in an apartheid system. Angelou’s story takes place in a rural village of Arkansas during 1930s where communities are segregated by their races. Angelou illustrates the atmosphere in her Uncle Willie’s store, crowded by her African American community, listening to the heavy-weight boxing match between Joe Louis, the defending champion, and an unnamed white contender. Angelou was trying deliver to let her reader feel how her race felt whenever Louis was fairing. She used words and phrases like, “tide of murmuring” and “groaned” to express the disappointment and distress whenever Louis was the unfavorable side. She even used the phrase, “We didn’t breathe. We didn’t hope. We waited.” when Louis was “down”. These three short sentences informs the readers that the emotional tension was inflating the store, a hope that lingers in everyone that Louis will get up instead of being...

Cited: Angelou, Maya. “Champion of the world.” The Brief Bedford Reader. Ed. X.J Kennedy,
Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron. 10th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2009. 93-96
Tan, Amy. “Fish Cheeks.” The Brief Bedford Reader. Ed. X.J Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy,
and Jane E.Aaron. 10th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2009. 99-100
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