Maya Angelou - Graduation
Graduation is an important transition time in every person’s life. It is about moving on to something better and more important and to use your knowledge to achieve life goals. This is what the children attending the grammar school believed as well, including Maya Angelou. Given from her point of view, the story Graduation has ethos because as an African American girl, she shared the same thoughts and feelings as everyone standing on the stage or in the auditorium when Mr. Edward Donleavy passively demeaned everything the students had worked so hard to achieve. This story is told by a women who had surpassed all of the difficulties in life to get to this day, and through her learned, and personal, figurative, and detailed writing, has been able to pass on both the ill feelings and the warm feelings of that experience from Mr. Donleavy’s speech, to that of Henry Reed.
! What Angelou does best is evoke feelings and empathy from her readers. By relating to them and broadcasting her emotions for everyone to see, she emphasizes her sense of being wronged. When she is describing the excitement and anxiety in the people around her, she is relating to what everyone feels when they are about to graduate. “The children in Stamps trembeled visibly with anticipation...the whole young population had come down with graduation epidemic.” (22). This is the opening of the story. Immediately what does it make you think about? Graduation. Your graduation, whether in the past or the future. This helps her connect with her readers from the very beginning before them knowing the full setting of the story or who she is. Figurative language also allows her readers to picture the events and is prominent throughout Angelouʼs work: “She smocked the yoke into tiny crisscrossing puckers....embroidered raised daisies...added a crocheted cuff...” (24). This was an entire paragraph dedicated to the detail her mother added to her dress. This concrete...
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