Angelou and Imagery

Module One Lesson Seven Practice Activity Two – Angelou and Imagery

Sara Banki

1. Select phrases that depict the physical appearance of Mrs. Flowers. “Thin without the taut look of wiry people,” “her skin was a rich black that would have peeled like a plum if snagged,” and “her black lips to show even, small white teeth.”

2. How does the author depict the personality of Mrs. Flowers, especially in her relationship with Maya's grandmother? (Select phrases.) “I don’t think I ever saw Mrs. Flowers laugh, but she smiled often,” “I heard the soft-voiced Mrs. Flowers and the textured voice of my grandmother merging and melting,” and “I was certain that like everything else about her the cookies would be perfect.”

3. In recalling the past, how does the author focus on one particular time? “For nearly a year, I sopped around the house, the Store, the school and the church,” “most often when she passed on the road in front of the Store,” and “one summer afternoon, sweet-milk fresh in my memory.”

4. Cite the author's use of dialogue. “How you, Sister Flowers,” “Brother and Sister Wilcox is sho’ly the meanest,” and “now, don’t you look nice.”

5. Cite instances of sensory appeal (images). “Like an old biscuit, dirty and inedible,” “there was a little path beside the rocky road,” and “slightly browned on the edges and butter-yellow in the center.”

6. Cite uses of figurative language. “Like an old biscuit, dirty and inedible” is a simile. “They were as alike as sisters” is a simile. “I waited for the ground to open up and swallow me” is personification.

Where many had to search far and wide to find their life line in their earlier years, I found comfort in the place I returned to time and time again – my elementary school. A child years ahead of my peers when it came to the mental state, I often had a difficult time fitting in with the other children, to the point where teachers had to get involved, a false sense of sympathy. When I threatened suicide during the fall of 2011, a certain teacher paid a visit to my house. It was seven in the evening, and the sun hung low and orange amidst a pink sky, like a fire before my eyes. We sat on the porch. My mother brought us cookies – neither one of us ate. She asked me what I thought dying was liked. I replied that I suppose it must be peaceful. She in turn asked me if I’d ever heard the phrase “heaven on Earth.” Was our school simply a place of solace in disguise? Perhaps it was here I was meant to attend, and not a school out of the district. Perhaps I needed the children to try me again.