Steph gorman kara larkin and anne laurita
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Maya Angelou A Phenomenal Woman PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Steph Gorman, Kara Larkin, and Anne Laurita. Maya Angelou A Phenomenal Woman. Maya Angelou: Style. irregular stanza structure choppy and run-on sentences alternates between stating, questioning and describing

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Maya Angelou A Phenomenal Woman

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Steph Gorman, Kara Larkin, and Anne Laurita

Maya AngelouA Phenomenal Woman


Maya Angelou: Style

  • irregular stanza structure

  • choppy and run-on sentences

  • alternates between stating, questioning and describing

  • last lines of verses often give closure while at the same time “leaving the reader hanging”

  • line-to-line repetition and/or parallel structure

  • uses mostly second person tense but sometimes switches the tense in the middle of the poem

  • uses onomatopoeia


Maya Angelou: Commonalities

  • Female Anatomy, themes involving sexuality

  • Reminiscing about past loves and times

  • Difficulties of dealing with men

  • Mentions “workin’ in the factory”

  • Racism and African American Empowerment

    • Ex: My Guilt


Influence of Gender, Life Experience, and Culture- Biographical

  • Molested at age 7

  • Went silent for years after her uncle killed her mother’s boyfriend

  • Exposed to progressive ideals that caused her later political activism

  • Joined the Harlem Writers Guild

  • Worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Became Northern Coordinator for the

    Southern Christian Leadership Conference


Influence of Gender, Life Experience, and Culture- Primary Sources

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

-Maya Angelou, 1969

(the first part of her autobiography)


Influence of Gender, Life Experience, and Culture- Examples

My crime is "heroes, dead and gone,“

dead Vesey, Turner, Gabriel,

dead Malcolm, Marcus, Martin King.

-My Guilt

The variety of our skin tonescan confuse, bemuse, delight,brown and pink and beige and purple,tan and blue and white.

-Human Family

His tune is heardon the distant hillfor the caged birdsings of freedom.

-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Critics’ Viewpoints

“strong note of self-affirmation”

-Publishers Weekly

“at times to chatty and anecdotal”

-Janet Boyarin Blundell

“model of conduct for people”

-Adam David Miller

“portrays the strong Black American woman”

-Hilary Bailey


More Critics’ Viewpoints

“relies often on rhythm for success”

-Calendaria Silva

“venomous hostility to one and all of the white race”

-Daisy Aldan

“musical, rhythmical, enchanting”

-Mary Silva Cosgrave

“sexual nuances”

-R. B. Stepto


We agree with the critics:

  • Self-confidence and affirmation is an important part of many of her poems

  • She sometimes goes off on a whim and quite wordy and anecdotal

  • Focuses on strong women overcoming their emotional and physical struggles, especially African Americans, and serves as a role model for them

  • Most of her poems and musical and lyrical, rather than following a strict rhyme scheme


We disagree with the critics:

  • The best poems of hers that we read did not seem to rely on rhythm…most did not have a steady rhythm or continuous rhyming

  • Although Maya did exhibit some bitterness toward whites, it did not seem “venomous”


“I say It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips The stride of my steps The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally Phenomenal woman That's me.”


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