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Literary Precedents for A Gathering of Old Men

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Literary Precedents

The autobiographies of Maya Angelou begin with the memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, describing life in a small Arkansas town in the 1930s. The town is rural and deeply segregated. Angelou's grandmother, with whom she lives, runs a store where the black community can purchase groceries and other supplies. The rest of the books in the series—Gather Together in My Name (1974), Singin' and Swingin' and Gettiri Merry Like Christmas (1976), The Heart of a Woman (1981), and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986)—chronicle her life from her teen years through her fouryear stay in Ghana. Like Gaines, Angelou is deeply bound to the heritage of place. While Gaines's writing reveals his connection to his childhood in Louisiana, Angelou's memoirs draw more generally on her identity as an American. Wanda Coleman tells us in the LosAngeles Times that Angelou's work is "an important document...

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This section contains 258 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our A Gathering of Old Men Study Guide
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A Gathering of Old Men from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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