Graduation by Maya Angelou: The Influence of Discrimination

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The passage “Graduation” by Maya Angelou depicts the steps that she took in for preparation of her own graduation. Maya Angelou graduation day went from being eventful to feeling eccentric and rare. Within this passage Maya tends to describe or touch base on the inequality of the races during that time period.

She goes as far as pointing out the comparison or the varying opportunities that the African Americans had as to the Whites. The future that the African Americans had were much simpler when compared to the Whites who had opportunities to change the world if they could. Now being that the “Graduation” was an inspirational text Maya Angelou made sure that the audience got one of her major points out that being, no matter what affair or tribulations that we come across in this life we surely can surge above it because its in each and every one of us even though we may not recognize it until we come face to confront it.

Donleavy’s message seems to not expect any profound things to come of the graduates but, congratulates the graduates for having “made it this far.” He implies that the white schools are superior to the black schools because of their new equipment and well-trained staff. Donleavy’s speech gave air on the African-Americans for having to settle for what they are given and how they can’t expect to share the same authority as whites. Likewise, Henry Reed’s speech is all about optimism, using pathos to create an emotional speech. Reed is trying to reach out to his colleagues by telling them that better things await them within the future.

The audience tend to take offense to Donleavy’s speech. As Angelou recalls “the man’s dead words fell like bricks around the auditorium” and “the class of 1940 had dropped their heads.” The crowd acknowledges Reeds music in a more positive way till to the point where majority of them have a brighter viewpoint of their life.
However, that being said the authors use of rhetorical device revolves around imagery, allusion, and the set mood. We as readers can gather that these devices were used due to the fact that the author sets an overall mood of sympathy describing the inequality that she and many other African Americans had to undergo in that phase.

it comes to allusion the author mentions how the graduates are like “travelers” who show “nobility”. On the other hand, we see the use of imagery portrayed throughout the passage when every graduate was preparing themselves for this main event. As it states in the passage “We were on top again. As always, again. We survived. The depths had been icy and dark, but now a bright sun spoke to our souls”. This expresses the fact that Angelou was proud to be an African-American. At this point, it doesn’t even bother – if her race suffered, they still continued to be happy with all the opportunities that they were granted. The overall gist revolves around the unfair treatment of African-Americans during that time because they were not valued for their educational intelligence.

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