Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English & Feminist Studies Course Blog

A series of rhetorical questions

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After a rough week littered with personal issues and
continual stressors, I had just finished “The Street” and was beginning on
Angelou’s, “I know why the caged bird sings.” I probably didn’t go into it with
the right attitude. After class last Thursday I began to think a lot about hope,
I was naive in thinking I would find some in Angelou’s narrative. Needless to
say, she has yet to offer the reader any “glimmer of hope”. I put the book down
halfway through the second section of our reading in frustration. I asked
myself, why am I reading these sad books? Why do these terrible things happen
to these people? What have I done to deserve this privileged life? Basically, I
began to question my faith in the universe. I became so frustrated with myself,
my friends, and my peers.

Some of the main questions of our class keeps occurring to
me as I read through Maya Angelou’s autobiography; do white people have it
easier? Do males have it easier? Why? I understand the reality of the
situation, but I don’t understand the reasons for it. Does anyone really? What
gives these males the impression that they can rape an eight year old girl (or
sexual assault a grown female)? I realize this is mainly a series of rhetorical
questions, but something isn’t sitting right with me. I’m having a hard time
grasping it all. Maybe it’s because I’m a sheltered white girl from a ski town
in Colorado.

The more I read of Angelou’s upbringing the more pressing
these questions become. I am hoping that I will be enlightened eventually,
however, I don’t think there is an answer that I would be satisfied with.

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