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By consistently weaving the theme of motherhood into her literature Maya Angelou creates both personal narratives and poems that the reader can relate to Her exploration of this universal theme lends itself to a very large and diverse audience Throughout Angelous works she allows her followers to witness her metamorphosis through different aspects of motherhood Well-worked themes are always present in Angelous works- self- acceptance race men work separation sexuality and motherhood However Angelou uses the latter to provide literary unity Lupton 7-8 Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4 1928 to Vivian Baxter and Bailey Johnson After three years her parents divorced and both Maya and her older brother Bailey were sent to Stamps Arkansas Once in Stamps the children were cared for by their paternal grandmother Mrs Annie Henderson Neubauer 21 In her first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Angelou tells the story of her childhood She also makes the reader keenly aware of her close connection with her grandmother Stephen Butterfield says of Caged Bird in his Black Autobiography in America 1974 Continuity is achieved by the contact of mother and child the sense of life begetting life that happens automatically in spite of all confusion- perhaps also because of it Annie Henderson is a God-fearing independent woman whose firm hand leads Maya throughout many rough spots in her childhood It is through Mrs Hendersons values of self-determination and personal dignity that Mayas idea that she is shit color slowly fades away Vermillion 33 Maya fails to see her grandmothers negative traits She sees only a woman that many people both white and black respect The general store that Annie owns is the center of activity in Stamps This centralization of the store has a direct correlation to the way Annie is the moral center of Mayas childhood family Lupton 8-9
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