Momma Character Traits

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Family can be regarded as a strength or a weakness; it can build one up or tear one down. Marguerite Johnson faces a great deal of family related predicaments throughout the autobiographical narrative I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Specifically, her relationship and experiences with her grandmother, father, and mother play a large role in her personal development. Marguerite’s complicated family experiences cause short-term grief but ultimately strengthen her character. Momma is an influential character in Marguerite’s life. Her strict parenting style instills important values in young Marguerite, but she is unable to display affection. It is difficult for Ritie in her formative years to lack clear displays of love, especially …show more content…

Ritie is resistant to grow close to her mother whom she does not initially identify with. However, she ends up not only connecting with Vivian but acquiring her self-confidence and vengeance. Vivian shoots a business partner who had calls her a “bitch”. When Ritie learns this, she expresses, “He had been shot, true, but in her fairness she had warned him” (Angelou 208). In the conflict between Marguerite and Dolores, Marguerite gives her a warning before slapping her. Prior to living with Vivian, the timid girl from the South would never have had the boldness to even be involved in such an occurrence. This does not teach Marguerite to injure those who insult her, but to oppose wrongdoing. At the age of 16, Marguerite gets pregnant and is anxious about anyone finding out. Taking advice from Bailey, she decides to keep it a secret until she graduates high school. Surprisingly, when Vivian finds out: “There was no overt or subtle condemnation. She was Vivian Baxter. Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between” (Angelou 287). By accepting Marguerite’s predicament, Vivian helps Marguerite through the distress of being pregnant at 16. Also, she sets a good example as a mother when she helps Marguerite overcome her fear of holding the baby. From this situation, Ritie is taught to be ready for anything as well as remain persistent in tough

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