Maya Angelou’s “Graduation.”


Answer the following questions in as much detail as you can about Maya Angelou’s “Graduation.” Do not summarize, instead analyze the reading.

  1. Presumably, all of Maya Angelou’s readers would have witnessed a graduation ceremony and brought their memories to her essay. How does she fulfill the reader’s expectations for what graduation includes? How does she surprise us with details we may not expect?
  2. Write a personal essay about an event you anticipated hopefully but that did not fulfill your expectations, incorporating an explanation of your disappointment into your account, as Angelou does.

Sample paper

Maya Angelou’s “Graduation.”

Question 1

Angelou, a young African-American lady, had worked her entire life to excel in life, and this graduation meant the world to her. As a result, she had fully prepared and rehearsed for this day. Through her detailed explanation of the graduation day, she can inform all readers about the events of the graduation ceremony to the extent that the readers feel like they were part of the audience. She fulfills the readers’ expectations for what comprises a graduation ceremony by fully explaining the emotions and joy that run through it (Henke, 2014). To show the joy and happiness, Angelou elaborates on the matching butter-yellow pique dress that the graduating girls were wearing on this day.  Additionally, she explains how she had rehearsed to walk down to the auditorium to receive her diploma honors. However, by narrating about the two white men who gate crashed their ceremony and despised and accused them because of their skin color, she informs the readers that not all people are happy with the graduation and success and some will attempt to discourage them.

Question 2

My brother and I are best friends, and we have done almost everything together in the best part of our life. I was so happy when he told me that he was getting married to his childhood sweetheart, and immediately we began preparing for the big day began.  Everything was in place until when it was clear that the bride would not show up for the wedding.  After waiting for hours, we got reports that the bride had changed her mind that morning and she felt like she was not ready for marriage. I felt sorry for my brother. My biggest disappointment was the fact that the bride did not tell us in advance, but rather waited until the last minute to change her mind.


Henke, S. A. (2014). Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird as Trauma Narrative. . Maya Angelou, , 107.


Comparison and contrast of the short stories the lottery and the rocking-horse winner