Classic Nomination Essay example

Submitted By mbri824
Words: 1770
Pages: 8

Brianna McDonald
Masters of Western Literature- Honors
Bass TR 8:00

Why should a book be a classic? Ester Lombardi states that “a classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writer and great works of literature. Of course this is partly related to the universal appeal of a classic. But the classic also is informed by the history of ideas and literature, whether unconsciously or specifically worked into the plot’. It also says that ‘Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings, partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional response” (Lombardi). I think Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be considered a classic. As a biography, it appears to the readers’ core, as Lombardi states it should. It has love, hate, death, and faith all in one book. Most classic novels are fiction, but I think more non-fiction books should be added to the list. Living in the same childhood place as here, this book appears to my feelings emotionally. It touches my inner feelings and the book also has history worked into the plot. All of these elements are included in Maya Angelou’s book (Continuing). Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. Her parents were Bailey and Vivian Johnson. At the age of three, her parents decided to get a divorce because of inconsiderable differences. During the process of the divorce, her brother and herself is packed up and sent on a train ride alone. They are on their way to life with their father’s grandmother, Annie Henderson, and their uncle Willie, who lived in Stamps, Arkansas, at the time. Her grandmother ran a local store that they lived behind that she owned for 25 years. (Angelou Pg.6) The book starts out with her at church on Easter Sunday. Maya is sitting in a hand-made dress and has to go to the restroom. As church goes on, she starts to daydream. She believes that she is really white and a fairy godmother came down and became cruel to her. It turned her into a “too-big negro girl with nappy hair, broad feet, and a space between her teeth”. She thought this because she never developed a southern accent, never spoke the common language or slang, and was forced to eat pig tails and snouts. As she finishes daydreaming, she gets up to go to the restroom. She tries to hurry and trips over a foot hanging out in the isle of the church. Embarrassed, she runs home peeing on herself instead of going to the bathroom and going back into church (Angelou Pg. 4-5) Later into the book, Maya starts talking about the times people would come into the store and workers would buy their lunch for the day ahead. Most workers were black, but a few white workers would come in and out. They would go to work on the cotton fields and mills. She recalls how their brown sacks were full of grease, and the workers couldn’t afford the lunch because the needed to save their money for the three months cotton was out of season. They always came by to support Mrs. Annie’s business (Angelou pg. 20). Maya starts to miss her mom and picture what it would be like if one day her mom just up and died. She pictured the word mother across the top of her coffin. Maya also believed she was dead until Christmas time comes around and Bailey and she received gifts in the mail. With tears running down her face, she wants answered as to why they were put on a train alone to Stamps, Arkansas. Her mom talks about eating oranges all of the time and bathing in the California sunshine, which Maya knew that didn’t happen all the time. Bailey and she just sat in the field crying until her grandmother, which she eventually called Momma, back into the store to get ready to what was ahead (Angelou pg. 50-51). A year later, Maya’s father appeared in Stamps unannounced. She was seven