In Maya Angelou’s autobiography. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. the reader is introduced to a huge ensemble of complex characters. Each character has a enormous impact on Maya Angelou’s life. One character who non merely has great weight in Maya’s life. but is besides one of the most darling and admired characters is Annie Henderson. Maya’s paternal grandma. She is defined by an firm religion in God. her trueness to her community. and a deep love for everything she touches.
Annie Henderson. dearly referred to as Momma. has the greatest influence over Maya Angelou. from childhood to adolescence. Momma lives in Stamps. Arkansas. where she is in a heartfelt way loved and respected by its occupants. She is the owner of the lone general shop. the Wm. Johnson General Merchandise Store. in the black community.
Momma has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. She has owned this shop for some 25 old ages. get downing it as a nomadic tiffin centre and finally constructing it in the bosom of the black community. She lives in the dorsum of the shop with her disabled boy. Uncle Willie. Maya and her older brother. Bailey Jr. . travel to populate with Momma when they were three and four old ages old.
Momma excepts them into her place with unfastened weaponries and raises them for the bulk of their childhood. Momma instills in them a sense of right and incorrect and raises the kids harmonizing to austere Christian values. One thing that makes Momma an of import character is her unshakeable religion in God. Every forenoon Momma rises from bed ( without an dismay clock ) at four o’clock and starts her twenty-four hours with a supplication. inquiring for God to bless her place and everyone in it. When Momma is confronted with racism. she looks to God for counsel. An illustration of this is when Momma and Maya were outside of the shop on a all right twenty-four hours and they happened to detect three hapless white-trash kids coming down the hill. Momma sends Maya into the shop to screen her from what would most surely turn into an ugly state of affairs. Momma turned to lapidate and “did an first-class occupation of drooping from her waist down. but from the waist up she seemed to be drawing from the top of the oak tree across the street” and she began to groan a anthem.
When the three kids approached Momma. they began to mock and torture her. Momma stood rebelliously on her porch. giving no mark of attention. and continued groaning her anthem. while the kids proceeded mocking her. Finally the kids tired and casually said their good-byes. disrespecting Momma farther by mentioning to her by her first name. Maya witnesses this scene from inside the shop and in the beginning was really angry. but when the parody was over. she felt pride in her grandma. She did non to the full grok what happened. but she was certain that her grandma won the conflict. This episode is the ultimate trial on her religion in God because no affair what happened. she ne’er lost her religion and continued to love her enemies. Another illustration that makes Momma an of import character is her trueness to her community. When the Great Depression “seeped into the black community easy. like a stealer with misgivings” Momma devised a program that non merely would assist her concern flourish in the mist of this seeking clip. but besides assist out all those greatly affected by it. She came up with the superb thought to let her frequenters to turn in their public assistance commissariats in exchange for the goods that they were accustomed to before the Depression.
She put out a mark in forepart of her shop proclaiming that “one-five lb can of powered milk is deserving 50 cents in trade. one-five lb can of powered eggs is deserving one dollar in trade. and ten-number two tins of mackerel is deserving one dollar in trade. ” Not merely did she invent this program but she besides loaned money to many people. black and white. The occupants of the black community and Momma every bit benefited from this system of swap. The occupants benefited by being allowed to obtain what they were accustomed to from Mommas shop and Momma benefited by being able to maintain her shop unfastened while most concerns were shuting down. Another illustration that makes Momma an of import character is her deep love for everything she touches. Despite the fondness she feels for her grandchildren. she cares more about their well being than her ain demands. An illustration of the deep love that Momma shows is when Maya needs to see a tooth doctor because of a odontalgia. The lone black tooth doctor in town is 25 stat mis off. so Momma decides to take Maya to Mr. Lincoln. a white tooth doctor she loaned money to during the Great Depression. Momma feels that Mr. Lincoln owes her a favour.
When they arrive to the office. Mr. Lincoln turns them off. saying that he does non handle black forbearance. Momma reminds him of the loan that saved his concern and he reminds her that the loan has been repaid. He besides adds that he would instead “stick his custodies in a dog’s mouth” than dainty Maya’s imposition. This infuriates Momma and she leaves Maya outside on the back porch. while Momma lets herself into the office. While indoors. Maya imagines her grandma transforming into a “superhero” and giving Mr. Lincoln a walloping. In world. Momma is inside the office stating Mr. Lincoln that he has non paid the 10 dollars in involvement. Mr. Lincoln protests. stating she ne’er asked for involvement before. but he finally pays the 10 dollars and issues a reception to seal the trade. Momma uses this money to take Maya to a black tooth doctor that will handle her.
Momma compromises her sense of moralss in order to obtain the agencies to acquire her granddaughter intervention for her odontalgia. She realizes that it was incorrect for her to inquire for involvement on a loan retroactively but she felt it necessary to give her moralss for the good of her granddaughter. Although I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has many complex characters. none are every bit complex as Momma. She has a enormous impact on Maya’s life. Through life by illustration. she instills in Maya an unshakeable sense of religion. trueness to one’s community. and shows Maya how to hold compassion for everything she touches. Although Momma is austere in her values she conveys the prodigious extent of her love for Maya throughout the book.
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