Before getting curious about why did Maya Angelou write Phenomenal Woman, a person really needs to understand why did Maya Angelou write poems. Understanding why did Maya Angelou write poetry holds the key to many other questions such as why did Maya Angelou write Still I Rise. So let’s work on exploring the former first, and then we’ll be able to unearth the latter.
Background History of Phenomenal Women
Maya Angelou had a turbulent and (almost) non-existent domestic life as a child. She had to witness her parent’s falling apart as a three year old. The hostilities between her parents translated in to a divorce after which little Maya had to go live with her paternal grandma. Living with grandma was a smooth ride for the next 4 years till her dad returned out of the blue and the young one had to relocate and settle in with her mom; she had turned eight by this time. This is where Maya’s real nightmare started; all the things she had already lived through would seem like nothing compared to what lay ahead. Mr. Freeman – her mother’s significant other – sexually molested and physically abused the eight yr old Maya. When Maya built the courage to share the incident with her brother, it spread like wild fire among all coven members.
When the legal proceedings and personal enmity against Mr. Freeman resulted in his death, little Maya went completely mute because she laid the blame for his death on her speaking up; she believed her voice was a killer out to get everyone. Continuing to live in this state of being mute, the preteen Maya became acquainted with the world of poets and writers. She found solace in Shakespeare’s words, in Dickens’ inscription and many others. Little Maya had just become aware of the writing ammunition she held within her. However, even though she continued to write, her circumstances continued spiraling downwards after the birth of her lad Clyde. Without choosing between right and wrong, Maya kept going through experiences just to keep providing shelter & seeking survival for her child and herself.
The Final Journey Towards Angelou’s Phenomenal Women
The struggles of her life paid off. Her son inherited the writer’s touch from his mother and became a prominent writer himself. Her broken relationships taught her all she needed to carry a balanced one; this became evident with her blossoming & flourishing marriage to Paul de Fau. The lessons she learnt from her life & experiences encouraged her to read about other women who had struggled & triumphed above life. Her quest would lead her to read about the likes of Jessie Fauset, the veteran Anne Spencer, the legendary Frances Harper and many others. And in order to pay homage to the strength that women possess within themselves, Maya Angelou inscribed “Phenomenal Women”. The strength, in her words, is a mystery that the male gender shall never be able to touch or comprehend.