Alice Walker & Maya Angelou
Angelou writes “She smocked the yoke into tiny crisscrossing puckers, then shirred the rest of the bodice. Her dark fingers ducked in and out of the lemony cloth as she embroidered raised daisies around the hem. Before she considered herself finished she had added a crocheted cuff on the puff sleeves, and a pointy crocheted collar. I was going to be lovely. A walking model of all the various styles of fine hand sewing and it didn’t worry me that I was only twelve. ” (33) Whereas Walker also boastfully describes the attire she wears in church on Easter Sunday that was designed with care by her mother and sister.
Walker writes “It is East Sunday, 1950. I am dressed in a green, scalloped hem dress (handmade by my adoring sister, Ruth) that has its own smooth satin Urbanczyk, Page 2. petticoat and tiny hot-pink roses tucked into each scallop. My shoes, new T-strap patent leather, again highly biscuit-polished. ” (1) Neither girl is rich by any means but the closeness shared with their families makes up for being underprivileged and this makes them rich with love. Thus the appreciation of the clothing is strongly felt through each of these essays as it is recited by Angelou and Walker.
Continuing further, the tone of each story remains synchronized as both young lady is faced with a tough situation. The life altering circumstances are not alike in nature but ultimately set a sad and rebellious tone in each of the essays. Walker, at only eight years old, loses her right eye as a result of horseplay by her brothers playing with a BB gun. This triggers Walker’s depressed state due to her appearance and also consequently affects her schooling and social life (2). The tone changes in Angelou’s essay as she is victimized by the ignorant criticism of Mr.
Edward Donleavy, a white speaker, at her graduation day ceremony. The unwelcomed scrutiny transforms Angelou’s positive thoughts toward the future drastically (36-37). However, through the dark clouds each girl finds a silver lining. Both Walker and Angelou find redemption of their physiological setbacks and breakthrough as stronger, smarter, and secure woman. Furthermore, the writing styles of Angelou and Walker’s essays are very much alike in different ways. Each essay begins on a high and jolly note then transpires into the climax and concludes with each author finding herself with a stronger sense of self awareness.
Walker gains her awareness through her experiences in the desert that inspires her to write poems, but her most influential experience comes about from her the words spoken by her daughter “Mommy, there’s a world in your eye. ” (5) Walker continues writing “There was a world in my eye and I saw that it was possible to live it: that in fact, for all it had taught me of shame and ager and inner vision, I did love it” and closes her essay with a reference to Stevie Wonder’s song “Always” (5). Such is similar in Angelou’s self experience of shame to Urbanczyk, Page 3 edemption. During Angelou’s graduation ceremony a young man from her student body, Henry Reed, takes the podium in an effort to rejoice his graduating classes of 1940 after the preconceived notions were served by the white speaker, Mr. Edward Donleavy. Reed unites Angelou’s class by taking on the role of orchestra conductor and begins to recite the Negro National Anthem which lifts the spirit of the room. Angelou writes “The words of Patrick Henry had made such an impression on me that I had been able to tretch myself tall and trembling and say: “ I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty of give me death. ” While echoes of the song shrived in the air, Henry Reed bowed his head. ” Angelou then closes with; “We were on top again. As always, again, we survived. ” Although Angelou and Walker’s experiences weren’t quite the same, the concluding writing styles of their essays are very meaningful and leave the reader with an enlightened sense of their character. Growing up during this time requires both Angelou and Walker to wear a tough layer of skin.
Both these Negro girls become achievers despite what society has to say. It is hard to imagine what it was like growing up in their time but without it the world may have never acquired writers such as Angelou and Walker. Even though it is somewhat sad to read the struggle each woman faced it is wonderful to know the outcome and fortune that each have had all through their brilliant writing ethics. Maya Angelou and Alice walker will continue on as famous writers, but furthermore legendary women.