Maya Angelou Graduation Day Analysis

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The human body has 640 muscles and the strength of these muscles vary from person to person. The strongest muscle found in each body, whether scrawny or burly, is the tongue. The tongue can unite, uplift, restore, and encourage. The power of the tongue can also cause bitterness, strife, and envy. This small muscle, located in the mouth, impacts large spheres in the world, such as jobs, politics, and relationships. In Maya Angelou’s “Graduation Day”, she narrates her graduation and the events that surround the day. Angelou portrays the power of words throughout her narrative and how they impact her thoughts. Because words, whether careless or thoughtful, persuade, they can enrich or belittle the human spirit. First, words shape the human spirit and have the power to unite. Angelou illustrates the excitement and preparation that leads up to the graduation day. This anticipation carried over to her church as the pastor directed his sermon towards the graduates. Angelou states, “…he used the occasion to speak to backsliders, gamblers, and general ne’er-do-wells.” (Angelou, 2014, p.181). The minister’s sermon, not only encouraged Angelou’s graduating class but also became a time to motivate the backsliders in the church who had lost their way. Angelou describes that on the cheerful morning of her graduation her…show more content…
Henry Reed, the valedictorian, steps up to the podium after Donleavy. Angelou states, “…then Henry Reed was giving his valedictory address, ‘To be or Not to Be.” (Angelou, 2014, p.185). She describes the rage that filled her as she listened to Reed speak of choice. Donleavy ruined the idea of choice with his demeaning words. As Reed continued to deliver his speech he does something unscripted. He bursts into song, a song that embodied the liberty and freedom of choice that Angelo hoped for. Through the words of the poem, Reed binds the wounds that Donleavy had left raw and
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