She not only progressed from a state of semi-orphaned hood to one of the motherhood but also she developed through various stages of self-awareness.
The designs established in Caged Bird remain in her autobiographies. The narrator adapts herself to new situation resourcefully, replacing her sense of self in different circumstances, discovering the richness of her sexuality, and learning to cherish and protect. Harold Bloom notes that in Gather Together Angelou’s bold reckless confidence and self-assurance lead her to “bluff” her way into treacherous situations. And many times she failed to learn quickly enough to escape before becoming in need of on others who exploit her and Bloom suggests, it is Angelou who does the exploiting.
The third chapter discusses about the second work in her autobiographical sequences. “Gather Together in My Name” finds Angelou as the young mother with an infant Guy living in a family where into adulthood; she meets her “first love”, her first experiences with smoking marijuana, her embarrassing return to Stamps and her classmates, derision and scorn, her beginnings in the performing arts and her unskilled and adolescent attempts as fencer, madam, and prostitute. The juvenile Maya finally understands that there is only knowledge of the formality of goodness and the possibility of beginning a new again and again.
A wiser Maya concludes: “I had no idea what I was going to make of my life, but I had . . .
found my innocence”. As a chronicle of Maya’s growth from youth to adulthood, “Gather Together” announces its redeeming strategy within the story’s title. The safety net for the young heroine is Jesus’ promise in the book of Matthew that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (2002: 520). The chaos of World War II, overlooked in the repercussion described in the opening scene of the book, in many ways matches the confusions felt by young Maya in the Church scene in “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”. In Gather Together, the war happened; and in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, white supremacy in Stamps has its gothic horrors: little powhitetrash girls who turn up their naked behinds to their elders; young black boys force to witness and contribute in the discovery and repossession of a now-bloated black murder victim; a licensed dentist who hesitates to practice medicine on a small child; a law implemented officer whose idea of justice is to have a seriously disabled man spend several hours in a wooden box hiding under the weight of white potatoes to evade the raging insanity of white men covered in white sheets, petrifying and murdering for often invisible wrongs.
These are some of the gothic elements that pervade Angelou’s special little plot of Southern soil in Stamps. she is evaluating her options, consequently choosing an unstable independence. She presents the world through the awareness of this young girl going through the extremes and lack of centeredness that characterized youth.
However, Dolly McPherson, in Order Out of Chaos: The Autobiographical Works of Maya Angelou (1990), observes that, in Gather Together, Angelou “explores . . .
the state of the relation between the romantic imagination – innocence – and the objective reality to which it ultimately must be reconciled” (2002: 520). And this is the intention of the autobiographer who has made an attempt to utter in the plot voice of a youngster being initiated