In today's society, most authors are taking into writing books covering some of the controversial themes in society. These issues mostly revolve around the harm and problems that racism has impacted the lives of people in the past and at present in history. Maya's Novel for instance Why the Caged Bird Sings is her autobiography where she narrates the experiences she had lived as a black girl. On the other hand, A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Alice Walker illustrates a prerequisite history of Martin Luther as a black American, who was brought up in a segregated world between the whites and blacks and his fight against segregation as a minister. Therefore, this essay aims at reflecting on the individual and societal effects of racism as evidenced by the literary work of both authors.
Maya Angelou's novel has a very catchy title Why the Caged Bird Sings it is good to note that she uses figurative name bird to represent the poor, oppressed, minority Africans in the American society. Angelou and her brother were raised in Stamps a small segregated town after the divorce of her parents (Angelou 10). Here Mayas childhood became troubled by both family instability and sexual assault by her mother's lover who was found dead a few days later after the ordeal. Due to trauma from her experience, Maya became mute and both mentally and physically agonized. Therefore, her problems came from two dimensions being black and female from this perspective Maya symbolically represented the bird. From her work, it is easy to understand the plight of the black people in America's history posting the fact that they were significantly rated second. However, she does not forget to point out that the past reflects the present situations in today's world especially with racism existence to date. This shows from black people changing their names, to being denied services by a doctor who deals with only white people. Nonetheless, Maya's book reminds people that despite these problems there is still hope of eliminating racism and embracing equality which is figuratively represented by the singing of the birds.
A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Alice Walker is quite similar to Maya's work the only difference is that Luther was from a stable family, influential man in society and a minister. Nonetheless, these differences do not change the fact that he was a black American, who grew up with the same racial problems like Maya. In his years, the black people had almost no rights over the white majority. In public transport blacks were expected to give up their seats to a white person who was standing despite the segregation that existed during that period. Moreover, they were not supposed to eat or sit in places that were primarily segregated for the whites (Walker 1). On occasion when a black person defined these requirements they would be arrested and charged with breaking the laws and causing a disturbance in the society. However, with his influence as a minister he used his position to correct the societal wrongs in America especially in concern to inequality and injustice towards the minority blacks. In most of his speeches, Luther addressed issues of non-democracy, with people living in ignorance, and segregating people regarding their color which he alleged was total social injustice and inequality.
In conclusion both novels explicitly cover the effects of racism in society and especially America from the past and present. However, in their literary works, each book shows that there is a solution for this social hazard. In Mayas story, her mother stood up for her to the extent of killing her lover for raping Maya. On the other hand, Martin Luther remains a legend in the American history for rebelling and fighting against racism a huge doing that still has effects on the thinking of American people to date. By studying both Maya and Luthers autobiographies, people are shown the strength of learning from peoples literary works. Therefore, if racism is to be eliminated authors have to indulge more in writing books covering this kind of issues because written works influences leaders more to spoken words.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. , 2002. Internet resource.
Walker, Alice. "Userfiles: A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Troup.org. 15 February 2016
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