After the divorce of their parents, three-year-old Maya and her brvarious other, Bailey, Jr., a year her senior, tagged favor freight, arrive at the Wm. Johnson General Merchandise Store, Momma Henderson"s grocery and feed keep in Stamps, Arkansas. Daily, area employees pass with the save to buy provides, impushing the Maya character, or the speaker, with the anguish of their ill-phelp labors. From the outset, the writer demonstrates a humanistic sympathy for the downtrodden Southern black. Her expert theatrical eye differentiates babsence misery as seen by soft early morning glow and later, by the harsher afternoon sunlight, which spotlights the field laborer"s hand-to-mouth struggle versus low weras, lengthy hours, and also soul-wearying drudgery. As a blessing on this near-servant level of subsistence, the author discloses Momma"s simple pre-dawn prayer, a stoic litany type of which many thanks God for an additional day of life.

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At age 5, Maya, later singled out by Momma for her tender heart, is astute enough to realize that Uncle Willie"s contorted body lessens his manhood. He appeases psychic pain by concealing his affliction from 2 strangers from Little Rock. As an adult, Angelou probes a better denigration by conjuring up the "cement deals with and eyes" of Klansguys "extended through graves" dust and also age without beauty of discovering," which represent the hatred of the the majority of rabid of Arkansas racists. Uncle Willie, too lame to ward off the feared night riders, moans his helplessness from layers of potatoes and onions, which conceal his form in the vegetable bin "prefer a casserole."

Glossary

c/o a postal abbreviation for "in care of."

The Brazos a Texas river, flowing previous Waco to Freeport on the Gulf of Mexico with stereotypical cowboy nation.

juice harp(Jew"s harp) a metal or bamboo percussion instrument prevalent to Europe and Asia since primitive times and originally named a jaw harp. Holding the harp between the teeth, the player vibprices the central stem through strums of the finger while changing positions of the mouth, tongue, and also jaw to change the resulting twangy tones.

fo" bits and also 6 bits fifty cents and also seventy-5 cents.

paranoia an abnormal psychological state which frequently causes the sufferer to feel persecuted.

cotton bolls the hard, prickly, taloned, fibrous pod which encases a prospering fluff of cotton and thwarts the picker"s initiatives.

Butler; Henley Samuel Butler (1835-1902), writer of Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh, and also William Ercolony Henley (1849-1903), author of the poem "Invictus," which students regularly memorize for its bold espousal of self-determination and also individualism.

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abacuses counting frames created of color-coded beads that are slid along rods or wires for quick hand calculation; still famous in Japan and various other Eastern countries.