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Graduation Essay Maya Angelou Summary

Michele Dobrayel


Throughout life, graduation, or the advancement to the next distinct level of growth, is sometimes acknowledged with the pomp and circumstance of the grand commencement ceremony, but many times the graduation is as whisper soft and natural as taking a breath. In the moving autobiographical essay, "The Graduation," Maya Angelou effectively applies three rhetorical strategies - an expressive voice, illustrative comparison and contrast, and flowing sentences bursting with vivid simile and delightful imagery - to examine the personal growth of humans caught in the adversity of racial discrimination.

In an expressive voice, Ms. Angelou paints a memorable picture of a small black community anticipating graduation day fifty-five years ago. She describes the children as trembling "visibly with anticipation" and the teachers being "respectful of the now quiet and aging seniors." Although it is autobiographical, an omniscient voice in the first six paragraphs describes how "they" - the black children in Stamps - felt and acted before the omniscient voice changes to a limited omniscient narration in the seventh paragraph. Her eloquent voice skillfully builds the tension as she demonstrates bigotry destroying innocence.

The same consistent, expressive voice introduces Ms. Angelou's effective strategy of comparison and contrast. By comparing what the black schools don't have, such as 'lawn, nor hedges, nor tennis courts, nor climbing ivy,' reveals not only a clear illustration of what luxuries the white schools in the forties had but also how unjust the system was. The adults at the graduation focus on the differences that were previously left unspoken. The black principal's voice fades as he describes "the friendship of kindly people to those less fortunate then themselves" and the white commencement speaker implies that" the white kids would have a chance to become Galileo's.... and our boys would try to be Jesse Owenes..." The author's emotions vary


Summary Response of Maya Angelou’s “The Graduation” Essay Sample

In the essay “The Graduation” ( McGraw-Hill 2003 ) . Maya Angelou tells the narrative of life in 1940s Stamps. Arkansas. She explains how it feels to be discriminated and thought of as less than equal. Angelou shows that with a strong will to get the better of. it is more than possible to put aside gross outing racism and impersonal favoritism. Angelou delivers a really elaborate. inspirational. and enlightening narrative of self-acceptance.


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“The Graduation” is an inspirational narrative of Maya Angelou’s 8th class graduation. She uses really powerful descriptive words to explicate her milieus. for illustration. Unlike the white high school. Lafayette County Training School distinguished itself by holding neither lawn. nor hedges. nor tennis tribunal. nor mounting Hedera helix. Its two edifices ( chief schoolroom. the grade school and place economic sciences ) were set on a soil hill with no fencing to restrict either its boundaries or those of surrounding farms. There was a big sweep to the left of the school which was used alternately as a baseball tribunal. ( Angelou 1 )

Angelou describes the utmost differences from the white school and hers. At this point in the narrative. Angelou is turning more and more aroused about her graduation. along with her household and friends. The town was highly supportive of the 8th class classes’ graduation. All was apparently good until Mr. Donleavy walked onto the phase and began to sabotage the intelligence and high rational capacity of the full school. He continued to connote that merely the white school was worthy of new scientific discipline equipment. and merely foreground their athletic ability. Angelou began to chew over her being. Her ideas were dark and dreary. until Henry Reed began to sing. He delivered his address with power and assurance. and Angelou’s religion and self-image was restored.

Response Paragraph One

Angelou explains that inequality that existed in 1940s Stamps. Arkansas is still a really important job in today’s universe. Throughout the essay. she gives first-class illustrations of this. such as. Donleavy had exposed us. We were amahs and husbandmans. jack of all tradess and washwomans. and anything higher that we aspired to was ludicrous and assumptive. Then I wished that Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner had killed all white folks in their beds and that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated before that sign language of the Emancipation Proclamation and that Harriet Tubman had been killed by that blow on her caput and Christopher Columbus had drowned in the Santa Maria. ( Angelou 6 ) By this point. Angelou feels really baffled about whom she is. She goes on to believe that no affair what she does. her race will ever be seen as less than equal. After a few proceedingss of her beguiling some less than elating ideas through her caput. she hears Henry Reed get down to give his valedictorian address. The address was more than words. and it inspired Angelou. She began to see a different side of Henry Reed ; he spoke strongly as if Mr. Donleavy had ne’er been at that place.

Response Paragraph two

Angelou’s elaborate account of her graduation reminds me of my ain graduation. The more I read. the more I found similarities. My graduation was really meaningful to me. and like Angelou I was expecting the twenty-four hours that I was able to walk across the phase and have my sheepskin I had spent twelve old ages working really hard to obtain. The twenty-four hours of my graduation I was pleased to see so many of my schoolmates that I had grown up with right there beside me. I had ne’er seen so many smiling faces earlier. Angelou describes a peculiar portion of her experience that I relate to most. I gave myself up to the soft heat and thanked God that no affair what evil I had done in my life He had allowed me to populate to see this twenty-four hours. Somewhere in my fatalism I had expected to decease. by chance. and ne’er have the opportunity to walk up the stepss in the auditorium and gracefully have my hard-earned sheepskin. Out of God’s merciful bosom I had won respites. ( Angelou 4 ) By this point. I was to the full engulfed in the narrative and was expecting sentence after sentence.


“The Graduation” was a really inspirational essay about get the better ofing and draw a bead oning to be all that you can. I’m certain that many people will comprehend this essay really otherwise. However I seem to happen the strongest point she made to be that no affair how difficult life gets. the strength to get the better of and surge above is in each and every one of us. even though we may non cognize it until we come face to confront with such a state of affairs.