Maya Angelou’s “Champion of the World” and Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” both capture the authors’ past experiences of oppression, and convey their struggles with identity. Both authors are from minority cultures, and both describe the same harsh pressures from the dominant culture. Both author’s share situations of being outcasts, coming from different racial backgrounds and trying to triumph over these obstacles. Tan and Angelou speak about the differences between their childhood selves and white Americans. Tan talks about the anxiety of a teenage girl who feels embarrassed about her Chinese culture, and who wants to fit in with American society. Angelou’s explains the racial tension and hostility between African and white Americans. Though the essays describe two different time periods, the message of being outcast and triumphing over obstacles transcend the time and place.
In Angelou’s “Champion of the World,” She speaks about the 1930s heavyweight championship boxer, the “Brown Bomer,” Joe Louis. A fight between Louis and a white rival was a major event for the black community. “The last inch of space was filled, yet people continued to wedge themselves along the walls of the Store.” (Angelou 110) The enthusiasm of the people who wanted to listen to the fight was so great. Angelou focuses on the vulnerability of African Americans during the segregation era. “My race groaned. It was our people falling…one more woman ambushed and raped.” this shows how upset and ashamed Angelou is about the mistreatment of her race. At the end of the match they all were happy because the boxer that won was African American “…Joe’s gonna whip that cracker like its open season.” (Angelou 111) This shows the emotion the patrons at the store felt while listening to one of their kind fight a person who was ‘‘white.’’ Angelou also speaks about the mistreatments her race went through on a daily basis. Angelou, just wants everyone to be treated the same....
Cited: Amy Tan. “Fish Cheeks” and Maya Angelou. “Champion of the world” X.J. Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron, Eds. The Bedford Reader. 11th Ed. Boston: Bedford, 2012. Print
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