Maya Angelou's Argument

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Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher once said, “Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.” The passage, “When I Lay My Burden Down”, by Maya Angelou portrays a perfect example for Aristotle’s anger-control philosophy. In the story, Maya is a young girl, oblivious to much of the world’s conflicts. She lives in the time of segregation as an African American with her grandmother and many brothers and sisters who respects the family code of hygiene . Living as minorities, her family must withstand harassment from the caucasians, especially from the powhitetrash…show more content…
Throughout the fiasco on the front lawn, Maya constantly conjured a plethora of evil deeds to lay on these ungrateful girls, but was held back as she knew she “couldn't say anything, so [she] went and stood behind the screen door “ (Angelou, 18). The immediate realization by Maya illustrates her acquiescence towards her culture to be submissive and to be able to withstand mockery, displaying her inner struggle against her norms and her motive to break them. With her person vs self conflict, the author is accentuating the problem of discrimination in the 1930s that were unable to do nothing to better their lives. Likewise, as she quietly contemplates whether to throw painful spices on the three girls, she realized that she “was as clearly imprisoned behind the scene as actors outside were confined to their roles” (Angelou, 22). Her self control over her emotions steered her away from unnecessary violence and would have resulted in calamitous consequences, though she deeply wanted to follow through with, creating her internal clash in priorities. Through her battle with her herself, she demonstrates to the reader a depiction of the significant conflict of apartheid occurring in the society and in her backyard. As the plot progresses, Maya continuously watches the mockery of her grandmother without uttering a single word as most African Americans were confined

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