Maya Angelou is one of the great figures in contemporary American literature. Her poetry helps spread the word of equality to African American women and to all those who are oppressed. It is for this reason, she has received so much critical acclaim.
In order to fully understand Maya Angelou, it is important to fully understand her. Her story is one filled with many trials and tribulations. As soon as she was born, her parents divorced. This paved the way for a damaging childhood and adolescent life and having to overcome struggle and hardship. Her writing is a reflection of this.
Maya Angelou was constantly on the move during her frightful childhood, being separated from her parents many times. The event that prompted her continual struggle was being raped by her mother's boyfriend. This traumatizing event hurt her to no end and as a result she became mute for five years. Mrs. Flowers, a friend of her mom's attempted to help her by counseling and mentoring her. This worked somewhat, but after this, she was sent back to live with her mother again in San Francisco. Life was hard so she so she ran away to be with her father in a broken-down trailor After this, she decided to move to a graveyard which happened to be a haven for homeless children. Deciding this did not work for her she traveled back to San Francisco to live with her mother. It was there that she was able to settle down and mature and at the age of sixteen, she gave birth to a son, Guy.
Dealing with rape and being and African-American were issues Maya Angelou has to deal with when she was young. At one point she worked as a cabaret dancer and a prostitute. Her work reflects this as it, "draws heavily on her personal history but employs the points of various personae" (Britannica Online 9/17/98). Bloom says "Much of Angelou's poetry, almost entirely short lyrics, expresses in strong, often jazzy rhythms, themes common to the life experiences of many Americ...