Maya Angelou “Graduation” Summary
Graduation is an important transition time in every person’s life. It is about moving on to something better and more important and to use your knowledge to achieve life goals. This is what the children attending the grammar school believed as well, including Maya Angelou. Given from her point of view, the story Graduation has ethos because as an African American girl, she shared the same thoughts and feelings as everyone standing on the stage or in the auditorium when Mr. Edward Donleavy passively demeaned everything the students had worked so hard to achieve.
This story is told by a women who had ...view middle of the document...
..added a crocheted cuff...” (24). This was an entire paragraph dedicated to the detail her grandmother added to her dress. This concrete information she included only added to the believability of her story and the signiﬁcance of the moment. When describing the scents coming from the home economics building with such preciseness, she clariﬁes the fact that everything is clear and the little things made all the difference on that memorable day.
Everything in the story was told with such intricate detail. Even the minuscule features of her writing surprisingly gave off small hints of something more. When Angelou states “I was headed for the freedom of open ﬁelds.” (24) It is somewhat a reminder of slavery. Although in reality it is talking about freedom from school, there is a long history of slavery in America and the inequality of African Americans to whites; when the word “freedom” is used when referring to African Americans, many tend to associate it with freedom from slavery. This may evoke pity from the reader, or simply add intrigue from how she connects it with school.
Inequality between African Americans and whites was emphasized strongly by Angelou. When Angelou is walking up the hill to her school, she describes the gloomy atmosphere surrounding it—foreshadowing what is to come. When inside the auditorium she also notes that something feels off. Once the two white men walk on stage, the entire atmosphere returns to this gloomy awareness.
The use of “Amen” throughout the speech is a sad reminder of their inequality: it was an automatic response as well as showing how they were lesser than him since no one contended anything he said. Angelou describes the feeling she got when listening to Mr. Donleavy’s speech (“The man’s dead words fell like bricks around the...