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Both these books are autobiographical and are based around the things encountered by the main characters on their journey from childhood to maturity I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is non-fiction and is based on the life of the author Maya Angelou It follows her story starts in the 1930s and follows Maya from the age of three until she is sixteen Great Expectations is a fictional autobiography with Pip the main character followed from around 8 into his twenties The book was written and based in the mid 1800s The overall structure of the two characters ascent to adulthood is slightly different Both characters leave their childhood homes but pips character later returns This is used to illustrate the authors view of what it means to be Grown up I believe that both Maya Angelou and Dickens present maturity as an identification with your roots In this context I believe that both books show the characters to have achieved maturity to differing degrees The opening of both books is highly significant to the tone and plot of the book In the opening of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou is placed in a humiliating situation- She has forgotten the words of the poem she is supposed to be reciting and is wearing what she sees as a plain ugly cut-down from a white womans once-was-purple throwaway The dress description is a reflection of how Maya sees her self The negative language - plain ugly and subordinate to white women is repeated throughout the book particularly when the character is very young This sets the book up to be a story of how Maya begins to respect and esteem herself as a goal for maturity Great Expectations opens on Pip in a graveyard being accosted by an escaped convict This scene paints Pip as a helpless child with no defences as the convict frightens and attacks him his fear is shown
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