Angelou is the main character of the novel and also plays the role of the narrator. She is very intelligent and prying girl who is extremely interested in everything that is somehow connected with languages. In this novel, she shares with readers her memories from her childhood and adolescence when everybody named her Marguerite. These periods of her life weren’t so pleasant and careless as they are supposed to be. Maya Angelou faced a lot with racial discrimination when her brother Bailey and she were sent to her grandmother. They live in Stamp, and the white children were very cruel to them. Later their father took his children away and left them with their mother, Vivien. She didn’t pay close attention to her children. Maya was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend Mr. Freeman when she was only eight years. She became very withdrawn and continued to mix well only with her brother. Then she got acquainted with a very smart and kind black woman Mrs. Bertha Flowers who shared with Maya all her knowledge about languages. Sometime later Momma decided that it would be better for children to move to San Francisco where their mother lived because of racial discrimination. Maya started to study in the local high school. One summer the girl visited her father who lived in California. This journey ended with fighting with one of a friend of her father. Then she was homeless for some period. As we can see, from early childhood all Maya wanted was to be understood in society in spite of her skin tone and individual features of her personality. Experiences of violence had a great impact on her life because they have increased her interest in Literature. That’s why this novel is a kind of representation of the difficulties that Maya Angelou had to overcome before becoming a professional writer.
Maya Angelou in the Essays