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Life Lessons in Maya Angelous Graduation

Graduation is an honor for everyone, it’s where everyone’s mind expands to many possibilities in life on the outside. But through the Maya Angelou’s autobiography, “Graduation” was more about than taking the next step. The unexpected events occurred during the ceremony and it opened her eyes to what part of society was still out in her town and the world. Her dreams were shot down into nothing by the guest speaker and by the town into disarmament and anger.

In this event, “Graduation” was meant to be an exciting moment for children to become adults to do what they’re aspired to be in life. To have encouragement and support from their peers around them. It’s a very special moment for the community to come around and celebrate the graduating class of 1940, a moment to feel proud. Even the author herself was having her special moment as she proclaimed “During that period I looked at the arch of the heaven so religiously my neck kept a steady ache.

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”[Angelou, 47] She’s enunciating that pride had made an entry in herself and she was satisfied to show it to everyone.

Before long, all the happiness will be gone in a small amount of time. Throughout the ceremony, they were given speeches by their valic victorian Henry Reed who Marguerite was pleased to share the top rankings between them. Through the description of the setting, she’s saying the whole community is helping out and getting ready for the up and coming graduation “The weeks until graduation was filled with heady activities” [Angelou, 48].

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Then came the day of her graduation it was a proud and joyful moment through her family. “Finding my seat at last, I was overcome with a presentiment of worse things to come.” [Angelou, 50]. Even with rehearsed seatings and placements, everyone was overcome with anxiety and awkwardness, that it looked so unplanned. That was until the guest speaker that the principal introduced whose name was Mr.Edwards Donleavy whose words shot down their dreams.

Angelou describes the based purpose of his speech was only comparing them to the central school that was in her words [naturally, the white school] and all the accomplishments that they received and the new updating equipment as well. “Mr. Donaleavy didn’t leave us long in the dark over who made these improvements available to Central High. Nor were we to be ignored in the general betterment scheme he had in mind” {Angelou 51}. Putting out there that the Central Highschool was more appreciative and more successful in his own words.

Discriminating them that anything higher they aspired to be would be deemed arrogant. The only decent job for apparently someone on their level would only be labeled to do lesser jobs than others who are more fortunate than them. All hopes of accomplishments down the drain from the words of the white man who knows nothing about them but can only compare them by discrimination.

The mindset on these children was drowning in sorrows of being discriminated by their skin tone instead of their minds. Them having no sort of control over their life only to do what they are told. It made Marguerite angry for having no chance of defense against her color only to put stereotyped into nothing. But towards the end of the ceremony, her mood tends to start changing into being proud of her race again. This was because of Henry Reed their Valic Victiorian who sang an inspiring poem by James Weldon Johnson. The words made her feel redemption of her feelings to feel proud of herself and her race and being in the graduate class of 1940, by putting aside the words of Donleavy and rejoice by the encouragement coming from Henry and the town people altogether.

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Life Lessons in Maya Angelous Graduation. (2020, Sep 02). Retrieved from

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