During their growing up years, children war to discover their private place in society. It is tough for children to find their area while they’re given numerous benefits, but when a child is oppressed by their dad and mom or grandparents, males in their life, and the dominant subculture, the road to reaching self-identification is fraught with tremendous barriers to overcome. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Mary Crow Dog’s Lakota Woman depict the two ladies’s “overcome bold social barriers and [their] struggle to achieve a sense of identity and self-acceptance” (Draper 1).
Both girls grew up in segregated societies: Mary Crow Dog at the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and Maya Angelou within the black community of Stamps, Arkansas. As is common with minority youngsters, they spent most in their youth living with their grandparents. Both girls additionally skilled oppression via their dad and mom and grandparents, who were the primary contact with other people that children have. Even although Mary’s mother and grandmother spoke the Lakota language, they refused to educate it to Mary. They instructed her that “speaking Indian might only hold you again, turn you the incorrect way” (Crow Dog 22). They wanted Mary to have a “white man’s schooling” (Crow Dog 22).
In contrast, Maya turned into denied a white man’s education, not only by the dominant way of life but additionally via her grandmother. Maya attended the Lafayette County Training School, which turned into the school for blacks. In addition, Maya’s grandmother forbade her from reading books by way of white authors. This restriction is exemplified within the following passage:
Bailey and I decided to memorize a scene from “The Merchant of Venice”, but we found out that Momma could question us approximately the writer and that we would have to tell her that Shakespeare became white, and it wouldn’t rely to her whether he turned into lifeless or not (Angelou 14).
Knowing that their grandmother would not approve in their reading Shakespeare, Bailey and Maya determine to memorize “The Creation” by means of James Weldon Johnson rather.
Mary’s grandmother believed that “going to Maya Angelou Quarter church” and “dressing and behaving like a wasièun (white man)” was the “key which might magically free up the door main to the coolest life, the white lifestyles” (Crow Dog 23). In comparison, Maya’s grandmother informed her grandchildren to “use the trails of lifestyles that she and her generation and all of the Negroes long gone earlier than had discovered, and discovered to be safe ones” (Angelou 47). Her safe direction become one in which blacks had as confined contact with white humans as possible due to the fact she did now not agree with that “whitefolks might be talked to in any respect with out risking one’s life” (Angelou forty seven).
In addition to parental dominance, each girls suffered male dominance once they have been forcibly raped at a young age. Mary Crow Dog changed into fifteen while a person of unspecified shade raped her, and Maya Angelou was eight whilst her mom’s boyfriend assaulted her. Besides sexual domination, those ladies additionally skilled mental and physical domination.
Mary reviews that on the reservation, “the guys pay first rate lip carrier to the repute of girls in the tribe” (Crow Dog 65). When really, “among the Plains tribes, some men suppose that all a girl is ideal for is to crawl into the sack with them and mind the children” (Crow Dog 5). Also Mary asserts that due to what white society has completed to their men, a few “warriors come domestic under the influence of alcohol and beat up their old women for you to paintings off their frustration” (Crow Dog five).
Maya’s understanding of male/woman relationships comes in large part from her father and his stay-in lady friend. Even although Maya does not like Delores, she has sympathy for Delores over the manner her father treats his lady friend. Maya considered her father “suggest and cruel” because he changed into “unable to proffer a chunk of kindness to the female who had waited patiently, busying herself with housewifely obligations” at the same time as Maya and her father had long past to Mexico (Angelou 244).