A Comparison of the Literary Works Graduation, Araby and One Friday Morning

Categories: Short Story

This paper compares three literary selections that are connected in some way through genre for LIT 225. The three selections are: Graduation by Angelou, Maya. Araby by Joyce, James and One Friday Morning by Hughes, Langston Introduction I will be discussing innocence and experience and how this relates to literature. I will be reviewing three separate stories, Graduation written by Maya Angelou, Araby written by James Joyce, and One Friday Morning written by Langston Hughes. I will be discussing the setting of the stories, period in which the piece was written, and the characters personality and perception in the stories.

I will be comparing how each story represents Innocence and Experience. 


Maya Angelou is remembering back to her high school graduation. She recalls the wonder she felt on that day. The way that old tradition had carried through over the years. This story takes place in 1941, in a small black community in Stamps, Arkansas. An all black school Lafayette County Training School was by no means as fortunate as the nearby all white schools. It had neither trees nor shrubs; it simply had two buildings on a hill. The local people of the town were not wealthy or educated as the nearby white towns or school. 

However this community was proud of its children and their accomplishments of graduating. Big ceremonies were planned each year for the graduating classes. The lower grade classes were in charge of helping with the festivities. The lower grade girls were in charge of preparing the refreshments; the small children were putting together a small play.

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The white man from a nearby town came to speak at the graduation ceremony. This is when the tone of the story changes. Because of this being written in the 1940’s racism and segregation is an active practice. The speaker does not give motivation to the graduating black students, as he would have for the white graduates. Instead he crushes their dreams and reminds them of their place in society. After the speaker quickly finishes his speech and leaves to catch his train, the speaker of the story is crushed. However after she actually listens to the valedictorian give his speech she is reminded of the accomplishments that she has worked for so long.

This story is a wonderful example of these experiences in our lives affects us in later years. All of us remember these moments so clearly in our later years, the sense of accomplishment, new adventures that face us in the world. In the short essay extracted from the novel “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” written in 1970 by Maya Angelou, Angelou writes about times in her childhood. This story is a wonderful example of when she graduated in 1940. She uses great symbolism. For example she states that the “graduating classes are nobility,” showing that they have earned the respect of the younger classmates. She also writes about the graduating class and their “exotic destinations.” This piece is a wonderful example of innocence and experience we all go through as a child transcending from a child to an adult. Angelou also writes about a time where the black community had to overcome great challenges in the 1940’s because if the way society viewed the black community. 


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2, 1882. Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2, 1882 in Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland to Mary and John Stanislaus. In the beginning of May 1887, the Joyce’s moved from Rathgar to an upscale home in Bray living close to the beach. When his father lost his job by a take-over the Joyce’s moved back close to Dublin. His father was an alcoholic and often unemployed, due to the father’s lack of responsibility; his father never regained wealth in the social order.  

Joyce studied modern languages at the University College. In 1902, Joyce moved out of Dublin and moved in with his aunt and uncle where he helps support his new family, in the absence his father and mother. As Joyce started his writings, he often wrote about the life and times when he use to live in Dublin. 

James Joyce wrote this story in 1905. This is a fictional story written about a school age boy and his experience of a crush on the eighborhood girl. The speaker in the story describes his neighborhood as a quite street, where children play, the speaker describes that the only time this dead end street has any activity at all is when the boys school is let out for the day. The speaker also goes on to describe his home and how it once belongs to a priest who has since died. The boy is recalling a crush he had on a friend’s sister and how he would spend his days and nights consumed with thoughts of her. There is a carnival of some sort that the girl wishes to go to but however is unable to. The girl has never really spoken to the boy and when she does, she expresses how luck he is to go to Araby (carnival) in a nearby town. He says that he will get her something from there if he goes. By the time his uncle arrives to give him the money to go it is very late and the boy is concerned that he will not be able to buy her something because everything will be closed. The boy arrives does get to look at one booth, however he does not find what he is looking for. By the time the boy goes to look at the other booths it is to late, he does not get to buy his crush and items from Araby. This story is about disappointment and bad luck. It does not appear that the boy will be able to impress his crush with his wonderful gift that he had planned to purchase. Again this experience shows us that we have all had some type of disappointment in our lives. Unable to please that person and look like the hero we want them to see us as. 

Most of us in life have wanted to make someone like us because of what we can offer him or her, what we have or how we look. This is a classic example of what hardships we face as adolescents. 

One Friday Morning 

An African American man who grew up in Joplin Missouri also writes this piece of literature in the 1940’s. He talks about an experience that a young black woman faced in her senior year in high school. This story as compared to the story by Maya Angelou is not based on personal experience however is a fictional account of a young black woman growing up in mid-west. The speaker of this story is Nancy Lee a young black woman who has a bit of a different view as Maya Angelou had in her story. This woman is proud of her heritage, born to educate working parents. She is excelling in a white school, she does not feel threatened to by being black and it even explains that sometimes she forgets her color. The other people in her school also do not view her as the colored girl in the school but however view her as just another student, sharing the same experiences that they are facing. This particular event in which the story is written about is detailing her win for an artist club scholarship. She learns of this scholarship and is asked to keep it a secret until the weekly assembly. She was planning on going to art school if she is admitted. Her parents are saving to help her go on to higher education. Moments before she is to give her speech and accept her scholarship, she is called to the principles office and learns that she can still get the award however because she is a colored girl she will not receive the scholarship, the judges do not think that it is appropriate that a colored person attends the school.

The girl is crushed, she was so proud to be a colored person and receive this honor. Now she has doubts that the benefits are not for all. Miss O’Shay the school principal however turns the situation by giving her details of her same prejudice that she faced growing being an Irish woman. How the Irish were also not liked, however through hard work and dedication they persevered and overcame that racism. How the girl will also overcome this and the society will eventually change little by little and how one must never give up on their dream. This character knows the hardships, coming from the south and moving north to the mid-west she was able to see the little change in that. After speaking to the principal she feels better, she knows there will be other awards and knows that she will overcome this and be the bigger person in this upsetting time. Comparing Nancy’s one day to our every life, we really look at this story and realize today we are all still victims’ discrimination. Discrimination today can come in all forms: lack of education, lack of previous job experience or skills. Race was a common factor for Nancy then for almost anything and everything a Minority tried to achieve. We actually take this story One Friday Morning and place to our everyday live, because whatever reason your day comes and you can’t receive the prize for one reason to another. Like Nancy we can all be strong, choose not to give up and look for that brighter future. 


In all of the above stories you can see that in whatever generation we live in we all face similar situations as we are growing from adolescents to adult. We all recall when we were transforming into adults at our graduation. The excitement and anticipation we felt in conquering the world and moving on. Also we have all had that first crush and the desire to please someone so that they will like us. We all remember the hurt and the disappointment we all felt when we were unable to come through on our promise. In the last situation we have all expected to win and have been let down by not winning, or have been disappointed to learn that a promotion was given to someone else who may have or have not deserved that promotion but for one reason or another received the praise and not ourselves. These experiences also transcend time and culture to effect all of us at some point or another in our lives. We as a group enjoyed this project and had fun reminiscing on our own life’s experiences that these in the story have touched.


  1. Angelou, Maya. (2001). Graduation. In S. Barnet, W, Burto, W.E. Cain & M. Stubbs (Eds), Literature for composition: Essays, fiction, poetry, and drama (6th ed.). (pp 834-841).
  2. New York: Longman.
  3. Joyce, James. (2001). Araby. In S. Barnet, W, Burto, W.E. Cain & M. Stubbs (Eds), Literature for composition: Essays, fiction, poetry, and drama (6th ed.). (pp 842-846). New York: Longman.
  4. Hughes, Langston. (2001). One Friday Morning. In S. Barnet, W, Burto, W.E. Cain & M. Stubbs (Eds), Literature for composition: Essays, fiction, poetry, and drama (6th ed.).
  5. (pp 847-852). New York: Longman.

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A Comparison of the Literary Works Graduation, Araby and One Friday Morning. (2022, Mar 25). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/a-comparison-of-the-literary-works-graduation-araby-and-one-friday-morning-essay

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