It is clear that this title had great significance to Angelou, as it was the title to her entire life story.
Gather Together in My Name, published inis Maya Angelou 's second book in her series of seven autobiographies. Written three years after her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings the book "depicts a single mother's slide down the social ladder into poverty and crime".
Kennedy's inauguration in America's most visible black woman autobiographer". For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" King James version. While Angelou acknowledged the title's biblical origin, she also stated that the title counteracted the tendency of many adults to lie to their children about their pasts.
A prevailing theme in Gather Together is how one Black female was able to survive in the wider context of post-war America, but it also speaks for all Black women, and how they came to survive in a white-dominated society.
Angelou, still known as "Marguerite," or "Rita," has just given birth to her son Clyde, and is living with her mother and stepfather in San Francisco. The book follows Marguerite from the ages of 17 to 19, through a series of relationships, occupations, and cities as she attempts to raise her son and to find her place in the world.
It continues exploring the themes of Angelou's isolation and loneliness begun in her first volume, and the ways she overcomes racism, sexism, and her continued victimization. Rita goes from job to job and from relationship to relationship, hoping that "my charming prince was going to appear out of the blue".
Just walk into my life, see me and fall everlastingly in love I looked forward to a husband who would love me ethereally, spiritually, and on rare but beautiful occasions, physically". In San DiegoRita becomes an absentee manager for two lesbian prostitutes.
When threatened with incarceration and with losing her son for her illegal activities, she and Clyde escape to her grandmother's home in Stamps, Arkansas. Her grandmother sends them to San Francisco for their safety and protection after physically punishing Rita for confronting two white women in a department store.
This event demonstrates their different and irreconcilable attitudes about race, paralleling events in Angelou's first book. Back with her mother in San Francisco, Rita attempts to enlist in the Army, only to be rejected during the height of the Red Scare because she had attended the California Labor School as a young teenager.
Another event of note described in the book was, in spite of "the strangest audition",  her short stint dancing and studying dance with her partner, R. Poole, who became her lover until he reunited with his previous partner, ending Rita's show business career for the time being.
A turning point in the book occurs when Rita falls in love with a gambler named L. Tolbrook, who seduces Rita and introduces her to prostitution. Her mother's hospitalization and death of her brother Bailey's wife drives Rita to her mother's home.
She leaves her young son with a caretaker, Big Mary, but when she returns for him, she finds that Big Mary had disappeared with Clyde.
She tries to elicit help from Tolbrook, who puts her in her place when she finds him at his home and requests that he help her find her son.
She finally realizes that he had been taking advantage of her, but is able to trace Big Mary and Clyde to Bakersfield, Californiaand has an emotional reunion with her son.
She writes, "In the plowed farmyard near Bakersfield, I began to understand that uniqueness of the person. He was three and I was nineteen, and never again would I think of him as a beautiful appendage of myself".
Themes in Maya Angelou's autobiographies Motherhood and family[ edit ] Beginning in Gather Together, motherhood and family issues are important themes throughout Angelou's autobiographies.
Critic Mary Jane Lupton states that "one gets a strong sense throughout Gather Together of [Rita's] dependence on her mother".
Hagen remarks that Angelou's relationship with her mother becomes more important in Gather Together, and that Vivian is now more influential in the development of Angelou's attitudes. Like many authors, Angelou views the creative writing process and its results as her children.
Angelou's autobiographies have the same structure: Critic Selwyn Cudjoe stated that in Gather Together, Angelou is still concerned with the questions of what it means to be a Black female in the US, but focuses upon herself at a certain point in history, in the years immediately following World War II.
The book begins with a prologue describing the confusion and disillusionment of the African-American community during that time, which matched the alienated and fragmented nature of the main character's life.
According to McPherson, African Americans were promised a new racial order that did not materialize.Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was the first U.S. bestseller ever written by an African American woman, and it catapulted Angelou into instant fame in the literary world.
The majority of her work deals with both the racism and sexism she experienced as an African American woman.
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A summary of Themes in Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
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Maya Angelou's I Know Why Caged Bird Sings illustrates how an innocent. and naive girl growing up in the midst of .