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What are the conflicts in All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou?

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chyna | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 4, 2007 at 12:58 PM via web

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What are the conflicts in All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 24, 2007 at 12:29 AM (Answer #2)

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The central conflict of this autobiography is Angelou's conflict with herself.  She is trying to find home, a place she truly belongs.  Like so many African-Americans, she has grown up a victim of the racism of America and the discrimination that has caused her to always feel an outsider in her own country.  Her trip to Ghana is to search for the traditions and culture and community that is absent in her American life.

However, she also finds racism and nationalism in Ghana.  There is the conflict of man vs. man as the Ghanian people demonstrate their own brand of discrimination and resistance to outsiders.  They are protective of their culture and feel that an American can not understand them and their ways - in other words, "this isn't your home.  You are not from here."

Angelou also struggles with her position as a mother, wanting to make sure that her son grows into a good and successful man.  She puts all her feelings of self-worth into that eventuality, assuming that she will fail as a human is she fails as a mother.  That self-inflicted moral code inhibits her and keeps her from finding fulfillment because it limits the expression of her personality.

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