Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She is best known for her books I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) and Gather Together in My Name (1974). Maya Angelou’s first name was originally given to her by her brother Bailey Jr., who chose it from a list of names their mother had given him. “Maya” was a nickname he used for her as a child and it means “my sister” in Greek.
When Maya Angelou was three years old and her brother four, their parents’ marriage ended abruptly and acrimoniously due to Mr. Johnson’s infidelities. Maya and Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas. Maya Angelou’s experiences growing up in the South during the 1930s and 1940s shaped her writing and would eventually inspire her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969).
Maya Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but is most associated with her work as a writer. She is credited with helping to bring the African-American experience into mainstream literature. Her works have been considered very controversial since she often dealt with difficult topics such as rape, racism, and poverty.
“My name is Margaret,” the tale of Maya Angelou’s life, is full of bitterness and racism against Mr. and Mrs. Cullinan. Margaret begins her narrative by contrasting white and black lifestyles. “While white girls were learning to waltz and sit gracefully with a tea cup balanced on their knees, we were learning Victorian values with very little money to indulge them.”
Maya then goes on to say how Mr. Cullinan was always staring at her and making her feel uncomfortable. One day, Maya ran into Mrs. Cullinan in the grocery store and she started calling Maya names and telling her to get out of the store. Maya was so embarrassed that she ran home in tears.
Later on in the story, Margaret tells how she got revenge on Mrs. Cullinan. Maya found out that Mrs. Cullinan liked pecans, so she put them all over the floor where she knew Mrs. Cullinan would walk. When Mrs. Cullinan came into the room, she slipped on the nuts and fell down. Everyone laughed at her and she was so embarrassed that she had to leave the party.
Maya Angelou’s story “My name is Margaret” is a story of revenge and humiliation. Maya gets revenge on Mrs. Cullinan for all the times she made Maya feel uncomfortable and humiliated her. This story shows how Maya was able to turn the tables on her oppressors and make them look foolish in front of everyone.
One of the primary distinctions highlighted in this brief narrative is education. “During my tenth year, a white woman’s kitchen became my last training.” Margaret, like many other blacks at the time, found herself in an unusual position when compared to other Americans. Slavery was abolished, but she had to work. Working would teach her lessons.
“I was learning that talk like the white folks did was a powerful thing.” Maya Angelou uses this story to show how one black girl was able to find her voice in a time when it felt like she didn’t have one. Maya Angelou was born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri.
She is known for her novels and poems, which are all based on her own personal experiences with racism and identity. In “My name is Margaret”, Maya Angelou writes about a young black girl who is trying to find her place in the world after slavery has ended. The story focuses on Margaret’s journey of self-discovery and how she learns to use her voice to empower herself and others.
The tone of this tale is pervaded by repulsion and hatred. Margaret constantly refers to Mrs. Cullinan as “poor woman” in a tone that implies she feels sorry for her, yet there is no sign of pity in her voice. Mrs. Cullinan’s house irritates Margaret, especially the notion that it is too big and particular for a family with only two people. While Mrs. Cullinan’s dislike shines like sunshine, Mr. Collinan’s disgust fades off into one paragraph or so it appears.
Maya Angelou writes, “Mr. Cullinan was a short man with a face like stale bread crusts. His eyes were coloringless and his mouth was always open” (Angelou 3). In contrast to Maya Angelou’s other writing, there is no rhythm or flow in this story. It is choppy, unorganized, and uncomfortable to read.
Maya Angelou’s “My Name Is Margaret” is a story full of disgust and hatred. The protagonist, Margaret, constantly refers to Mrs. Cullinan as “poor woman,” but there is no pity in her tone. Margaret is disgusted by Mrs. Cullinan’s large home, which seems too particular for a household with only two members. Mr. Cullinan is also the object of Margaret’s disgust, with his “face like stale bread crusts” and coloringless eyes. In contrast to Maya Angelou’s other writing, this story is choppy and unorganized.
Margaret rarely refers to Mr. Cullinan, but when she does, it’s only a few paragraphs with just a sentence or two about him. This is where you can observe Mr. Cullinan’s revulsion. He tells her that he has two daughters from a black woman, but they are rarely seen. Margaret finds out that she knows his daughters (the Coleman Sisters) quite well and soon figures out why their mother doesn’t resemble them at all, as well as why Mr. Coleman was never mentioned or shown onscreen.
Maya Angelou writes about a time in her life when she was living with her mother and her stepfather in Stamps, Arkansas. Maya is around six or seven years old at this time. Maya and her brother, Bailey, are the only children living in the house; their mother’s older children are all living with Maya’s grandmother. Maya’s father has left the family, and her mother is working long hours to support the family. Maya is a bright, curious child who loves to read and learn.
One day, Maya’s mother sends her to the store to buy some butter. Maya is excited to go to the store by herself and proudly tells the storeowner, Mr. Cullinan, her name. Maya is surprised when Mr. Cullinan doesn’t seem to remember her name and instead calls her “Mary.” Maya corrects him, but Mr. Cullinan continues to call her “Mary.” Maya begins to feel angry and embarrassed at being called by the wrong name.
When Maya gets home, she asks her brother Bailey what her name really is. Bailey tells Maya that her real name is Marguerite, but Maya’s mother changed it to Maya because she thought it was a prettier name. Maya is upset that her mother would change her name without even asking her. Maya decides to start going by her real name, Marguerite, from that day forward.
Maya Angelou’s “My Name is Margaret” is a story about a young girl learning to love and accept herself for who she is. Maya learns that she doesn’t need to change her name or who she is to please other people. This story is an important lesson for all children, no matter what their names are.